Sangeeta Sindhi Bahl, the oldest woman from India to conquer Mount Everest, is now eyeing Mount Mckinley in Alaska in order to realise her dream of scaling summits across the seven continents. Having started mountaineering at the age of 47, Bahl became the oldest Indian woman to scale the world’s tallest peak at the age of 53 in May.
“Mount Everest at a highest of 29,035 feet was the sixth summit scaled by me at the age of 53 (in May) and I am looking forward to make it to Mount Mckinley in Alaska in June next year to complete my quest of climbing seven summits spread across seven continents in the world,” Bahl, founder director of Impact Image Consultants, told reporters here. Bahl broke the record of Premlata Agarwal, who was 48 years old when she scaled Mount Everest.
“After my return from Mount Everest, it took me some time to recover and but now I am fully fit and have already started preparing for my next destination.” Born and brought up in Jammu, the finalist of the Miss India contest in 1985, Bahl said age is no barrier to achieve one’s goals and claimed she feels stronger and fitter at 53 than she did in her 20’s. “Age is just a number. A focused mind, determination, passion and above all good luck is needed to achieve any great feat,” said Bahl who is also the first woman from Jammu and Kashmir to scale Mount Everest.
Bahl had narrowly missed the feat last year when she had to return due to high altitude sickness. “I turned the disappointment into a challenge and worked harder this time to ensure that I reach the peak. I had left for the summit on March 27 and returned successful on May 27, achieving the feat on May 19, a day behind the scheduled date. “She recalled she sang the Indian national anthem and unfurled the tricolour during her 15-minute stay at the top of the peak. “I did not know that I would create a record while setting out for the summit. The luck was with me this time as weather remained clear for 11 days,” she said.
“On May 18, I decided to spend time and recover. We started for the summit from at 7 o’clock in the evening same day and reached the peak at 7:10 next morning. I was very determined and was ready for it,” she added. She advised the people of her state to explore the nature and beauty of Jammu and Kashmir. “Life is very short. I have seen death from close quarters during the summit and I want to tell people that there is more to life than just eating, drinking, shopping and moving on the automatic mode,” she signed off.