Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Where Height is Just a Fun Element!

Before our dear readers get engaged in their busy routine, we are here with our yet another inspiring feature in 'Women at Their Creative Best' series... Meet Delhi-based Sangeeta Bahl. While Bahl is quite well-known in the social circuit of the capital, and is also known for her professional grooming skills, as she owns an Image Consultancy firm, not many are aware that she has a very different profile to her beautiful persona - Bahl is also a Mountaineer, and has been to one of the seven Summits!
Bahl Relaxing at Such Big Heights... 
We decided to know more about her interesting journey, and landed at her place one evening over a cuppa. And, the first thing that we wanted to know before the formal interview session could begin, was how does it feel to be on a mountain as a woman, and how big is the challenge for women to do mountaineering, to which Bahl had a very interesting reply. " Thankfully there are few places in this world that are gender neutral, and mountains are one of them. They give a damn to your gender, and so it's an equal challenge for both men and women."

We found the reply itself so very inspiring that we were sure by now that the entire interview would be a wonderful experience! " I have lived my life on mountains, not literally, but my grandparents had their beautiful house on hills, and we always use to visit them over vacations. So, there was a natural fascination for mountains. Later, with time life changed, I got into airlines, and was travelling, then settled in Dubai. After marriage, me and my husband were travelling often, and we always had adventure on mind. That's how this whole mountaineering passion started," narrated Bahl.

Beautifully Strong...
She further added, "We started going on adventure trips, and only on one such adventurous travel a few years back, we realized that we can actually take it seriously, and can get into professional mountaineering.
I took a basic training before we decided to climb Killimanjaro (one of the seven summits). I did my basic alpine course at 11,00 feet, with 3 feet snow for 12 days in harshest weather to acclimatize  This one was with my husband last year. We decided to go for it together, as we wanted to experience mountaineering, and also for a simple reason how hard it can be at this age. As you know that most mountaineers are quite young, and I decided to go for this adventure in my mid forties," said Bahl. Today, she is 48, and believe us, it is hard to believe looking at the way she has maintained herself, from top-o-toe!
Since we did not want to disturb her in her narration, we asked her to continue further. " I found it a different experience altogether. When I finally reached the peak of Killimanjaro, which was 19,341, I realized it's not that big a deal, and decided to go for other summits as well. But, this time I knew that I will go for a hard training, as the other peaks won't be this easy. So, when I came back, I got into a proper training in 2012, . Post that I decided to go for my next adventure. It was in in Jan 2013, and was  to Aconcagua, in South America, precisely Argentina. This one is on 22,837 feet, and was certainly a challenge. Surprisingly, I was the only Indian woman in our group. It began on a very good note, but after reaching the height of 20,880 feet chopper camp, I fell sick, and since it was going severe, I decided o back out. It was quite disappointing as the peak of Aconcagua was right before my eyes," told Bahl. It was so thrilling to hear all that from her. For us, she is a champion, even if she couldn't touch the second summit.
Later, she told us very amusing facts, and the problems that a She mountaineer usually faces. " Whether you have your periods, or you want to poo, the only logic that works on the mountains is that you cannot spoil the natural beauty, and so a mountaineer carries it's things back to the base camp. Other than this, melting the ice is also a big challenge, when you need water to drink. But, overall it's fun," summed Bahl.
Sangeeta Bahl has big plans for this year, as she wants to explore Mount Everest, the highest Summit on Earth, and also Vinson Massif in Antarctica. By 2015, she dreams of being on all the other Summits. And, last but not the least, she wishes to set a record as the First Indian woman who has been to all seven summits by 50.

Well, with women like Bahl, nothing can be impossible!! BTW, Bahl is already heading to Elbrus in Europe, precisely Russia, this July...

1 comment:

  1. Sangeeta,
    Having known you for sometime now, I feel that your goal of SEVEN SUMMITS is no great sweat!! You have the rare 'gut' and adventure is in your 'blood'. Go, graceful lady, Go!! You have all in you to achieve the impossible!!


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