On May 23, 1984, Bachendri Pal created history thirty-seven years ago by reaching the height of world’s world’s highest mountain peak, Mount Everest. She also made India proud by becoming first woman mountaineer to reach the peak a day before turning thirteen. Pal accomplished her dreams at a time when women were not encouraged to participate in sports and in fact, her family had also raised objections against her decision.
At a very young age of 12, she and her friends climbed a 13,123 feet high peak during a school picnic. Pal studied MA and Bed from DAV Post Graduate College, Dehradun, and attended Nehru institute of Mountaineering where she scaled Mt Gangotri and Mt Rudragaria. Due to her extraordinary skills in mountaineering, she secured a job as an instructor at training school for women operated by the National Adventure Foundation. Pal was one of the members among eleven men and six women mountaineers who were selected for expedition to Mount Everest in 1984.
About her personal life
Born in a Bhotiya family in Nakuri village in Uttarakhand’s Uttarkashi district, Bachendri Pal’s father Kishan Singh Pal was a tradesman working as groceries supplier to Tibet from India. She was born on May 24, 1954. Pal’s family members raised questions when she decided to leave her teaching career and pursue mountaineering.
Her determination and focus on her dreams did not let her quit the climb when an avalanche had buried their camp during their adventure and all her team members decided to return. She continued her endeavour and was joined by Ang Dorjee and some other mountaineers on May 22, 1984.
Bachendri Pal was awarded Padma Shri in 1984, Arjuna Award in 1986, National Adventure Award in 1994, and Padma Bhushan recently in 2019. She has also published her autobiography- “Everest- My journey to the Top” through National Book Trust, Delhi. In March 2021 she had announced she will lead a 10-member team of women aged above 50 in a five-month-long expedition from eastern to western Himalaya beginning in May, however, due to current pandemic the program has been rescheduled to February/March 2022. The event is collaborated by Tata Steel Adventure Foundation (TSAF) and the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, Government of India, under the FIT India banner.