At 53, Sangeeta Sindhi Bahl achieved the milestone of scaling the Mount Everest, thus becoming the oldest Indian woman to conquer this feat. She broke the previous record of Prem Lata who had in 2011 climbed the world’s highest peak (at 8,848 m) at 48. Bahl hails from Jammu region of Jammu and Kashmir. She achieved this feat in the second attempt. Previously, when she had tried to scale the Mount Everest in 2017, she was evacuated due to deterioration in her health.
Speaking to The Indian Express, an elated Bahl said that reaching the summit was “a dream come true for her” and that she feels like starting her childhood again at this age. She said that she had previously climbed five highest peaks of five continents but scaling the world’s highest peak “is a different feeling”.
Sangeeta said that when she had applied for a mountaineering course at the Himalayan Institute of Mountaineering in Darjeeling, her application was rejected citing her age. “My application was rejected as I was above 40 years,” she told The Indian Express. But it was her husband Ankur Bahl who kept talking to her about Mount Everest and trained her to achieve what many thought was impossible.
Who is Sangeeta Sindhi Bahl?
The idea of mountaineering came to Sangeeta from her husband in 2011. She said that in 2017, when her journey was halted in between due to poor health, it was her husband who motivated her throughout the year to try again. Her husband, Ankur Bahl, had on March 19, 2016 successfully scaled the world’s highest peak.
Bahl said that before climbing the Mount Everest, she had successfully climbed four peaks and made one unsuccessful attempt in five continents in last 8 years. In 2011, she had first scaled Mt Kilimanjaro in Africa which is 5,895 m with her husband. Two years later, she climbed Mt Elbrus (5,642 m) – the highest in Europe and tenth in the world.
In 2014, she became the third Indian woman to climb Mt Vinson (4,897 m) in Antartica. The same year, when she tried to scale Mt McKinley (6,190 m) in North America, she suffered a knee injury. Next year, she successfully climbed Mt Aconcagua (6,962 m) in Argentina in South America.
She said that her husband worked hard to train her after her application was rejected by the Darjeeling mountaineering institute. She said that climbing Mount Everest would not have been possible without her husband’s help. Incidentally, Sangeeta said that she achieved this feat on the same date her husband did two two years ago.
Sangeeta was a Miss India finalist in 1985 and is also the founder of Impact Image Consultants in Gurgaon. She has previously worked in the aviation industry and had also designed uniforms for some of the airlines in the country and abroad.