Uttarakhand Stories

The Cliffhangers: 6 prolific mountaineers from Uttarakhand

by Abhay Aswal
Jul 05, 2017

Mountaineering is a sport that is slowly and steadily gaining popularity among the young generation. The satisfaction of ascending some the highest point on the planet from where the curvature of earth is clearly visible is an rewarding experience for any climber. While the simpler form of mountaineering such as hiking and trekking require little to no preparation, the alpinism and expedition style of mountaineering require skills, technique and years of experience under your belt.

Uttarakhand is home to the mighty Himalayas with some of the highest peaks situated in the state such as Nanda Devi (7,816 m) and Mt. Kamet (7,756 m). The state is home to some of the legendary mountaineers as well, who have created or broke several climbing records.

1. Bachendri Pal

Hailing from the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand, Bachendri Pal became the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest – the highest peak in the world. With this achievement, she paved the way for women to pursue mountaineering. She achieved this incredible feat in 1984 at the age of 30 during the Indian Everest Expedition thus paving the way for women to pursue mountaineering. She is the proud recipient of Padma Shree and Arjuna Award bestowed by Government of India.

2. Chandraprabha Aitwal

Born and brought up in Dharchula in Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand, Chandraprabha Aitwal is a another well-known mountaineer and is considered one of the pioneers of Indian women mountaineers. A Padma Shree and Arjuna Award recipient, she has successfully climbed peaks such as Nanda Devi (7,816 m), Kanchanjunga (8,586 m) and Trishul (7,120 m) to name a few.

3. Love Raj Singh Dharmshaktu

Born and brought up in the hills of Kumaon Uttarakhand, Love Raj Singh Dharmshaktu is one of the prolific mountaineer of India with numerous ascents under his belt. He currently holds the record for being the first Indian mountaineer to conquer the world’s highest peak Mount Everest six times. He ascended Mount Everest in 1998, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013 and most recently in May 2017. He was awarded Padam Shree – India’s fourth highest civilian award in the 2014.

4. Maj. Harsh Vardhan Bahuguna

Back when mountaineering in India was still in its infancy, Maj. Harsh Vardhan Bahuguna has already made his mark as one of the finest mountaineer the country has ever produced. An IMA graduate, Bahuguna is was born and brought up in Uttarakhand and had climbed many peaks successfully. However, his life long dream to ascent Mount Everest remained unfulfilled as he lost his life during an international Everest Expedition in 1971. He was posthumously awarded the Padma Shree by the Government of India in 1972.

5. Col. Ajay Kothiyal

Col. Ajay Kothiyal is the current principal of Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM) and somewhat of a local hero for the people of Uttarakhand – for he trained more than 1400 young/men who successfully joined the Army. A courageous and dedicated man, Col. Kothiyal served Indian Army and was bestowed with various gallantry awards. As for the mountaineering, the colonel has reached the summit of Mt. Everest twice. He also led Indian Army Women Expedition to Everest in May 2012.

6. Arvind Raturi

Arvind Raturi is a promising talent in the field of mountaineering. At the age of 21, he became the youngest mountaineer from Uttarakhand to scale Mount Everest. He achieved his incredible feat on 19 May 2013 during NCC Mt Everest Expedition. Hailing from the Tehri district of Uttarakhand, Arvind Raturi was one of the 9 climbers shortlisted from 108 participants for the Everest expedition.

Abhay Aswal

A cartoonist who enjoys doodling. Enjoys writing, movies and art. And football. And sarcasm. And travelling.

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