Mountains have always been associated with adventure. No wonder men and women have attempted to conquer mountains so to conquer themselves. Perhaps this can be somewhat summed up in Jon Krakauer’s words:

‚ÄúBut there are men for whom the unattainable has a special attraction. Usually they are not experts: their ambitions and fantasies are strong enough to brush aside the doubts which more cautious men might have. Determination and faith are their strongest weapons. At best such men are regarded as eccentric; at worst, mad. . . .‚ÄĚ
‚Äē¬†Jon Krakauer,¬†Into Thin Air

When it comes to mountaineering, these daughters of India have proved that they are not far behind in scaling mountains and conquering heights. They have gone above and beyond to create history and be role models to many others.

Bachendri Pal

It is impossible to talk about Indian women mountaineers without first mentioning Bachendri Pal. She was the first Indian woman to have climbed the Mount Everest.¬† Though she faced opposition from her family, she went ahead to becoming a professional mountaineer. In 1984, Bachendri Pal was selected as one of the members of the ‚ÄúEverest84‚ÄĚ team.¬† On May 23, 1984 she scaled the summit of the Everest along with a few other members.

For her contributions, Bachendri Pal was awarded the Padma Shri in 1984, Arjuna Award in 1986, Padma Bhushan in 2019 among several others. She later led the Indo Nepalese Women’s Mount Everest Expedition in 1993 and the First Indian Women Trans-Himalayan Expedition in 1997.

Bachendri Pal has also authored the book “Everest ‚Äď My Journey to the Top‚ÄĚ.

Santosh Yadav 

She is the first woman in the world to climb Mount Everest twice, and the first woman to successfully climb Mount Everest from Kangshung Face. She climbed the peak first in May 1992 and then again in May 1993.

Her achievement of becoming the first and only woman in the world to scale Mount Everest twice has been recorded in the “Guinness Book of World Records in 1994. She was awarded the National Adventure Award 1994 and Padma Shri in 2000.

In 2006, the Government of Haryana, has named a road as ‚ÄúSmt. Santosh Yadav Marg‚ÄĚ after her to honor her ¬†achievement.

Anshu Jamsenpa

Anshu Jamsenpa is the second woman in the world to scale the summit of Mount Everest twice in a season, and the fastest double summiteer to do so within 5 days.  Anshu summited the Mount Everest on 12 May  2011, and second time on 21st May 2011, within 10 days.  She climbed the highest peak in the world for the third time in 2013 and then in 2017 she climbed it twice in 5 days.

She is the first Indian woman to scale Mount Everest five times.

She was awarded the Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award 2017. She was also conferred with Tourism Icon of the Year Award by the Government of Arunachal Pradesh.





Premlata Agarwal 

Premlata Agarwal scaled the Mount Everest on May 20, 2011. She is the first Indian woman to scale the Seven Summits in 2013.

 She is the third Indian woman climber to climb Mt Vinson in Antarctica in 2014.

She was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2013 and Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award  for her achievements in the field of mountaineering.






Arunima Sinha

Arunima Sinha, the true epitome of courage, is the World’s first female¬†amputee¬†to scale¬†Mount Everest, Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Elbrus, Mount Kosciusko, Mount Aconcagua, Carstensz Pyramid and¬†Mount Vinson.

Arunima was a former national volleyball and football player who had boarded a train in 2011 to take an examination to join the CISF. She was pushed out of a running train when she resisted a robbery attempt. As she fell on the railway track, her leg was crushed by another train running on a parallel track. Her left leg had to be amputed below the knee, and she had to get rods inserted in her right leg.

While she was undergoing treatment at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, she resolved to climb Mount Everest. She reached the summit of Mount Everest on May 21, 2013 only two years after the accident.

Arunima was honored with the Padma Shri in 2015.

Nungshi and Tashi Malik

Nungshi and Tashi Malik are the first siblings and twins to climb the Seven Summits and reach the North and South Poles and complete the Explorers Grand Slam. Before them only 8 women among 29 people had completed this. They scaled the Mount Everest on 19th May 2013. Nungshi and Tashi have also participated in the World’s Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji.

Malavath Purna

Malavath Purna at only 13 years scaled the highest peak of Mount Everest and became the youngest girl in the world to have reached the summit. She scaled the Everest on 25th May 2014.

So far, Malavath has scaled Mt Everest in 2014, Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2016, Mt. Elbrus in 2017, Mt. Aconcagua in 2019, Mt. Cartsnez in 2019, and Mt. Vinson Massif in 2019.

***The Seven Summits are the highest mountains of each of the seven continents.

References and Further Reading:

Also read:

India’s Daughters – Women who Made India Proud

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