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Monday, August 8, 2016

For these Mysuru women, a steady climb from the plains to the peak

MYSURU, August 6, 2016

Without prior training or experience in mountaineering, four Mysuru women scale Mt. Friendship.

Four women from Mysuru, without any mountaineering skills or even prior trekking experience, scaled the Mt. Friendship (17,350 ft) in the Pir Panjal range of the Himalayas in Himachal Pradesh.

Of these, three are from the same family. They are Veena Ashok, a housewife, her daughter Varschika Gowda, a 1st year BE student in Sri Jayachamarajendra College of Engineering, and Veena’s sister Vani Ashok, a faculty at SJCE. Harshitha Ananth, also from Mysuru but currently pursuing higher studies in Bengaluru, is the fourth woman who made it to the summit.

D.S.D. Solanki of the International Academy of Mountaineering and Allied Sports (IAMAS) told The Hindu that the expedition team received a little training on the use of ice axe and ropes at the base camp by the more experienced guides, after which the team members with crampons attached to their shoes were off to the peak.

“Incidentally, D.P. Nandita Jain, a postal department employee from Yelwal, was also among the group but she rendered support to the rest of the expedition members from the base camp located at 13,000 feet. Reaching such a height without training is also quite an achievement,” said Mr. Solanki.

Recalling her experience Ms. Veena, who is into organic farming and kitchen gardening besides being a fitness freak, said she had never participated in any trekking expedition, let alone climb a mountain. “But I jog about 8 km a day to keep myself fit and was encouraged by my husband, Ashok,” she said and added that she wants to return to the mountains again.

Ms. Harshitha has a similar narrative of zero experience in mountaineering and trekking. “But thanks to the encouragement by the teammates, I made it to the summit. The experience has given me a wider perspective of life, besides opening up new vistas in team work and leadership qualities,” said Ms. Harshitha, who met with an accident during the summit climb.

“I fell into the crevice and for a fleeting moment, I imagined the end was near but my team mates pulled me out in the nick of time,” she recalled.

Notwithstanding the arduous climb and the dangers involved, the call of the Himalayas is now beckoning these climbers again who are smitten by the adrenaline rush induced by mountaineering.
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