Friday, 23 December 2016

Pemlata Agarwal, first 50-year old Indian woman to scale seven summits!!

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Premlata Agarwal (born 1963), who hails from Sukhiapokhri, a small village in Darjeeling, Jharkhand state, on 20 May 2011(at 9.35am) became the oldest Indian woman to have scaled the Mount Everest - 29,029ft peak. When she made this feat she was 45 and a mother of two daughters and she had already given her elder  daughter in marriage. At this age, other Indian women would rather spend their time  in the comforts of their home  and be content with playing with their grand children and taking care of household chores.  But, Premlata was molded in a way different from others.  She was a maverick driven by the spirit of outdoor adventurism  and hence she went out in the wilderness to reach the mystifying Himalayan peak. Yet another first to her credit is, she is the first woman on Mt. Everest from her state - Jharkhand. She discovered her passion in mountaineering when she was just 35, when she was in the middle of leading a cozy and comfortable life. Presently she is based in Jamshedpur, Singhbhum District and is closely associated with Tata Steel Adventure Foundation.

comparison of highest mountains every continent. TwistedSifter

This ace  woman mountaineer  did not stop at standing atop the roof of the world. She focused her attention on the highest peaks across the continents and  wanted to summit them too and, in this regard, she was fully supported by her family  members, in particular, her husband Vimal, a senior journalist and friends. She never failed to follow her father Ramawtar Garg's advice, “Never reverse a decision. Good or bad, stick to it,”  Being gritty as she was,  Premlata went on to achieve  yet another  most difficult feat for her age, that is she  became the first Indian woman to have climbed the Seven Summits on different continents, one of the tough mountaineering challenges, even for the professional mountain climbers will find it to achieve.
Credit:Cartoonstock.com
Her family commitments and responsibility were never deterrents to her ambition. In recognition of her great achievement, Premlata was in 2013 awarded the Padma Shri  by the Indian government. 
She  was  part of a 22 member Eco-Everest Expedition team  that took the extremely windy and greatly risk-prone challenging South Col (Camp 4 at 26,000ft) route from Nepal side. It was led by Steven Sherpa Dawa and guided by  the Asian Trekking Agency. Because of extreme weather condition at 26000 feet on the high mountains such as gale, heavy snowfall, etc, the team had some setbacks and their ascent on Everest got delayed.

Earlier, Premlata Agarwal went on  expeditions,  under Tata Steel Adventure Foundation, to Island Peak in Nepal in 2004, the Karakoram Pass (18,300 ft) and Mt Stok Kangri (20,150ft) in 2006 and  the First Indian Women’s Thar Desert Expedition in 2007. The latter was a  40-day camel safari from Bhuj, Gujarat to the Wagah border in Punjab (East).
simpledailychange.com

This 50 year old mom successfully achieved this most difficult mountain climbing challenge of reaching seven peaks on seven continents and planting the Indian flag on top of each of them on May 23, when  she scaled the North America's highest peak  Mount McKinley, Alaska (USA). Previous day, the inclement weather hampered her plan to scale the peak. The seven tallest summits thus she scaled were: McKinley (6,194m), Mount Elbrus (5,642m), Everest (8,848m), Kilimanjaro (5,895m), Aconcagua (6,961 m), Vinson Massif (4,892m) and Carstensz Pyramid (4885m).

After reaching Mt. McKinley, Premlata said, " ...... this experience has taught me that if you have the will and focus, no matter where you come from, you can conquer the world."

Seven summits climbed by Premlata. indiatoday.intoday.in

Up to that point of time,  approximately 300  climbers world over  made it to the top of the seven summits successfully. People in thousands gave up their attempt  on seven summit midway for various reasons. 

It was Richard Bass (December 21, 1929 - July 26, 2015), an American businessman, rancher, mountaineer and ski-resort (in Utah) owner, became  the first person  in 1985  to successfully climb the “Seven Summits”- the highest peaks on all seven continents. He, for the first time, suggested  his list of seven  tough summits called “the Bass list” which included the following mountains in it: Mount Kosciuszko-2 228 m, Vinson Massif-4, Mount Elbrouz-5, 642m, Kilimanjaro-5, 896m, Mt McKinely 6, 194m, Aconcagua 6,962 m and Mount Everest -8 848m. Patrick Morrow of Canada, who climbed the last peak on August 5, 1986, followed Bass. Junko Tabei, a Japanese woman was the first  from Japan to reach the summit of Mount Everest and  is also the first woman to achieve the Seven Summits in 1992. Mrs. Premlata followed suit.

Premlata  has made an indelible  and memorable mark in her life-long vision of empowering women and she is a source of inspiration to other aspiring  young women and girls. If there is a will and firm commitment, nothing will deter one from one's vision. Indeed, it  is a big stride  towards the  vision of empowering women. "My most cherished desire is to help Indian women come out of their routine household chores and instill in them the indefatigable spirit of adventure," said Premlata. It is a great achievement for a humble and an assuming homemaker whose romance with the mountains began  at the age of 35.


Ref:
http://www.dailyexcelsior.com/conqueror-of-7-summit
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Premlata_Agarwal
http://www.telegraphindia.com/1110521/jsp/frontpage/story_140