the-south-asian.com January 2004
Page 5 of 7
Women Climbers of Everest, K2, Nanga Parbat:
can't understand why men make all this fuss about Everest — it's only a
Tabei - Japan
woman from South Asia has climbed the K2 or Nanga Parbat. The first woman
Everest climber was Junko Tabei
, a Japanese student & mother, who wrote two books called
“Everest Mama-san” & “Yama-o-tanoshimu – Enjoying Mountains”
both in Japanese. She prefers to be known as:
"I'm a free spirit. Call me the free spirit of the mountains.” Her
comments on climbing are understated:
can't understand why men make all this fuss about Everest — it's only a
and ability alone do not get you to the top — it is the will power that is
the most important. This will power you cannot buy with money or be given by
others — it rises from your heart."
mountain teaches me a lot of things. It makes me realize how trivial my
personal problems are,"
“The mountain teaches me a lot of things. It makes me realize how trivial my personal problems are,"
the last fifty years, more than 75 women have climbed the world’s highest
peak, Mount Everest. Of these, only five have ever climbed the summit of K2
since 1954 and have since died. Three
women - Wanda Rutkiewicz of Poland, Julie Tullis of Britain, and Liliane
Barrard of France – were the first three women to stand on the summit.
Unfortunately, Julie and Liliane died on the descent. All three were
climbing without extra oxygen. Julie Tullis, from Britain, was a black belt
in Karate, a teacher, a mother, and an award winning filmmaker. She died of
exposure descending K2 in 1986. Only
twelve women have ascended Nanga Parbat in the last 50 years. Of them, two
were climbers of K2: Wanda Rutkeiwicz from Poland and Liliane Barrard from
France. Liliane was the first woman to summit Nanga Parbat in 1984.
women have had to face resistance and male chauvinism from men’s climbing
expeditions in one form or the other. Of the women climbers, the leader is
undoubtedly Wanda Rutkiewicz.
Rutkiewicz , [ 1943-1992] from
Poland, climbed eight of the 8000meters peaks , graduated with a
master's degrees in science and in electronic engineering from the
Polytechnic Institute of Wroclaw. At eighteen years of
age, she started climbing in the domestic Tatra mountains. Later
she started climbing the Alps and the Norwegian mountains. Climbing in
entirely all female teams , she went
on to climb the East Pillar of Trollryggen in Norway (1968), the North
Pillar of the Eiger (Messner route, 1973) and the North Face of the
Matterhorn in winter (first women-only-ascent, 1978). She died in 1992 on
Kanchenchunga near the summit. On 12 May she was last seen some 300 m short
of the top. She was also a writer and photographer. She wrote 2 books, and
dozens of articles and reports. During the last 10 years of her life she put
in a lot of time / energy to film making- films on Aconcagua's South Face Gdybyś
przyszedł pod tę ścianę, on K2 Requiem,
on Cerro Torre, on Nanga Parbat, on Gasherbrum II and on the people of the
Baltoro region Ludzie na Baltoro.
She was into ecological aspects of mountain areas. She read in 1983 in Delhi
a widely discussed paper on Women Mountaineers in the Himalayas and was a
founding trustee of the Mountain Wilderness organization. She died climbing
Kanchenchunga. See Wielicki comments on her strong nature/personality.
Boskoff [B.S. in Electrical Engineering , Wisconsin University,
Madness” adventure company after Scott Fischer died in a 1996 avalanche ; Mountain
Madness in 2002 had revenue of $400,000 last year and has averaged about 150
expeditions per year]. She
has six of the 8000 meters peaks to her credit and is very much influenced
by the Polish women climber Wanda Rutkiewicz :
"…Wanda was a huge influence to me. Unfortunately there really hasn't been anyone after her “ …to influence me,”…."She played a huge part in establishing a place for women in the high-altitude mountaineering world.
Mauduit of France
[ died May 1998 on Nepal's
Dhaulagiri plus Sherpa companion Tshering, was found in a tent at camp 3 ] has
6 peaks of 8000 meters .
Pasaban of Spain/Basque
– climbed six of the 8000 meters Peaks. Mount Everest (8848m) 2001, Makalu (8485m) 2002, Cho Oyu
(8188m) 2002, Lhotse (8516) 2003 Gasherbrum II (8034m) 2003 and Gasherbrum I
– Mama-Mia Climbers :
2003 - Alessandra Canesti of Italy, two
of the 8000 meters peaks.
Nives Meroy (Meroi) from Italy
climbed five of the 8000 meters . Summited GI, GII, Broad Peak in 20 days.
She has climbed three peaks (Nanga Parbat, Shishapangma, Cho_Oyu)
between 1998-1999. She always climbs without artificial oxygen. She was born
in Bergamo 42 years ago. "La signora Meroy" represents
Asian Women Climbers -- Devis:
Bachendri Pal was the first Indian woman on top of Everest [ worked for Tata Steel Corp. and later adopted five
children of fellow Sherpa Climber who died and whose wife later died also],
this site for her interview: http://www.pbs.org/adventuredivas/india/divas/bpal.html]
In the early ‘80s, she applied to the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering,
where she was tagged "Everest material." At number three of a
family of five in a modest household near Nakuri, Uttarkashi in Uttaranchal
State, she developed her muscles moving around in the Garhwal Himalayas.
with her education against parents wishes, she went on to get a Masters in
Sanskrit. And later wrote her
Everest journey in a book called "Everest:
My Journey to the Top" that appeared in the book Leading Out. Facing the prospect of a forced arranged marriage, she
got the National Adventure foundation into giving her a job to run an
adventure training school for women and girls. In 1984 she finally made it
to the Everest 84 expedition. After an avalanche that very nearly killed her
and her climbing group at Camp 24,000 feet, she managed to reach Everest top
on May 17, 1984, via the standard southeast ridge, becoming the first Indian
woman on Everest. She currently runs a training camp at Tata Adventure
Foundation, which has given support and produced about 32 Olympians, 9 World
champions in different sports.
-- Santosh Yadav + Bachendri Pal [Copyright TSA]
Yadav – The only woman in the world to climb Everest twice in two
consecutive years -[12
May 1992, summer-1993]
climbed Everest twice in less than a year. She says that mountaineering
fascinates her and comes naturally to her.
comes from a village in Rewari District of Rajasthan, where education for
girls was denied. She eventually graduated from Maharani College, Jaipur in
Economics. In 1986 she did advanced mountaineering courses from the Nehru
Institute of Mountaineering, Uttarkashi, with `A' Grades. Yadav began in
1989, with a nine-nation international climbing camp-cum-expedition to
Num-Kun area. Among the 31 members she was the only woman. She climbed Mount
White Needle (21,700 ft). In 1990 she was a member of the Indo-Taiwanese
Saser Kangri-I (25,000 ft) Expedition. After her feats in the mountains she
Iwas appointed to the Indo-Tibetan Border Police. In 1991, she was a member
of the Indo-Japanese Kanchenchunga (East Route) Expedition, and was chosen
to join the Indian Pre-Everest Expedition to Mt Kamet (25,447 ft). Later she
climbed Mt AbiGanmin (24,130 ft) Peak.
1992, as a member of the Indian (ITBP) Mt Everest Expedition, she performed
so well and went beyond base camp – Khumbu Ice- Falls [where about 25 % of
Everest climbers have died]. Finally on May 12, 1992, she stood on the
summit of Mount Everest with head constable Sange Sherpa and head
constable Wangchuk Sherpa. She was on the summit for about an
hour-and-a-half and because the fourth member Mohan Singh was in a bad state
of health, she provided him with her oxygen.
says that she “ felt great with mixed feelings of having achieved a feat
of rare variety and being the youngest woman in the world to scale the Mount
Everest (until 1993). I was also the first police officer to have achieved
after her Everest Expedition, she was the overall leader of the
Indo-Japanese Women Expedition to scale a 22,764 ft high unscaled and
unnamed peak in Garhwal Himalayas. The unnamed peak was named Mt Saraswati. In 1993, as the deputy leader of Indo-Nepalese Women's
Everest Expedition, she became the first and only woman in the world to
climb Mt Everest twice. On this climb Yadav narrated how she
slept the night at camp 4 on the way to Mt. Everest, only to realize in the
morning that she had been sleeping next to the dead body of a previous
she climbed Mt Fujiyama , led an expedition to the Andes Mt. Acancagua in
Argentina on January 28, 1998 – to commemorate 50 years of India's
Independence. In March 1999, she led the ``Millennium Indian Everest (Kangshung
Face) Expedition-1999'' and became the first Indian to lead successfully an
expedition to Mount Everest from its most dangerous and nearly impossible
route ``Kangshung Face''.
Married now and with a small baby boy, and no longer working on her police job, she now devotes herself for the promotion of mountaineering and also special pilgrimage tours to Kailash and Mansarovar.
the age of 19, Dicky Dolma was at
the time the youngest woman climber of Mt.Everest [May 10, 1993 ] with the
Indo-Nepali expedition led by Bachendri Pal.
She comes from Palchan village, a few miles above the tourist resort
town of Manali in the mountainous state of Himachal Pradesh in India. In
1984 she started playing with homemade skis and later at Manali Skiing
Institute, she completed skiing courses and basic mountaineering courses.
Married now to a skiing man, she concentrates more on skiing than climbing.
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