Bachendri Pal Biography

Bachendri Pal, an Indian mountaineer, made history as the first woman in her country to conquer Mount Everest. Her unwavering determination and passion have not only inspired women in mountaineering but also the youth in general. Despite coming from a humble background, Pal has achieved remarkable success through hard work, completing her higher studies and pursuing an unconventional career. In 1984, she joined an expedition to Everest, where she faced adversity when an avalanche injured her team members. Undeterred, Pal persevered and reached the summit, leaving a proud mark in her nation’s history. Since then, she has led expeditions, trained aspiring mountaineers and river rafters, and worked as a guide. Recognized with the prestigious ‘Padma Bhushan’ award, Pal currently works at ‘Tata Steel,’ conducting training workshops for corporates and individuals. She also dedicates her time to developing leadership skills in professionals, students, rural youth, and the underprivileged, making a positive impact both nationally and internationally.

Quick Facts

  • Indian Celebrities Born In May Age: 69 Years, 69 Year Old Females
  • Family: father: Shri Kishan Singh Pal, mother: Hansa Devi
  • Born Country: India
  • Mountaineers
  • Indian Women
  • Education: Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, D.A.V. Post Graduate College Dehradun

Childhood & Early Life

Bachendri Pal was born on May 24, 1954, in Nakuri, Uttarakhand, India. She came from a Bhotiya family and had four siblings. Her family faced financial difficulties as her father was a grocery tradesman. Despite their struggles, Pal found inspiration in Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary, who had ascended Mount Everest just days before her birth.

Pal excelled in both academics and sports during her school years. Her school principal recognized her talent and convinced her parents to send her to college for higher studies. In college, Pal continued to excel as a sportswoman, winning various events in shot-put, discus, javelin, sprinting, and even rifle shooting. She became the first girl from her village to graduate and went on to complete her masters in Sanskrit and B. Ed from the ‘D.A.V. Post Graduate College,’ Dehradun. She financed her studies by learning to stitch and earning money.

Mountaineering Career

Pal’s passion for mountaineering began at a young age when she had her first mountaineering experience during a school picnic at the age of 12. She attended the ‘Nehru Institute of Mountaineering’ to pursue her passion and build a career in the field. Despite her aspirations, her parents wanted her to get married to ease their financial burden. However, Pal refused and instead asked for employment opportunities for underprivileged mountaineers.

During her time at the ‘Nehru Institute of Mountaineering,’ Pal climbed Mt. Gangotri and Mt. Rudragaria, gaining recognition among passionate mountaineers. She was seen as a motivating factor and symbol of determination for women, as not many girls pursued mountaineering at that time.

In 1983, Pal became an instructor at the ‘National Adventure Foundation’ (NAF) and was selected by Brigadier Gyan Singh to be part of the all-women organization called the ‘Bhagirathi Seven-Sisters Adventure Club.’ This club aimed to support women and young girls in pursuing their passion for adventure.

In 1984, Pal submitted her candidature for the ‘Everest ’84’ expedition. Although she initially fell ill and had to stay back at the base camp, she refused to withdraw and joined the training after recovering. She successfully made a climb of 7,500 m on Mana, the highest climb of her life at that time.

A few days later, Pal joined a mixed-gender expedition to Mount Everest. Despite facing hurdles such as injuries from an avalanche, Pal and her remaining teammates persevered. On May 22, 1984, they reached the summit of Mount Everest, making history. Pal achieved this feat a day before her 30th birthday and six days before the 31st anniversary of Norgay-Hillary’s ascent.

Recognition and Continued Contributions

Pal received numerous honors and awards for her achievements. She was honored with the ‘Gold Medal for Excellence in Mountaineering’ by the ‘Indian Mountaineering Foundation’ and received the ‘Padma Shri,’ India’s fourth-highest civilian award. She also entered the ‘Guinness Book of World Records’ in 1990.

Pal continued to contribute to the field of adventure even after her successful ascent of Mount Everest. She led various expeditions, including the ‘Indo-Nepalese Women’s Mount Everest Expedition’ in 1993, ‘The Great Indian Women’s Rafting Voyage’ in 1994, and the ‘First Indian Women Trans-Himalayan Expedition’ in 1997.

In 2013, Pal participated in a relief and rescue operation during the North India floods, providing aid to the affected areas. She received the ‘Virangana Lakshmibai Rashtriya Samman’ from the ‘Ministry of Culture’ for her contribution to adventure and empowering women.

In 2019, Pal was awarded the ‘Padma Bhushan,’ India’s third-highest civilian award. She has also written an autobiography titled ‘Everest – My Journey to the Top’ to chronicle her inspiring life journey.

Despite her retirement from ‘Tata,’ Pal received an extension in June 2019 to continue leading adventure programs for the company. She remains an inspiration to aspiring adventurers and continues to make a significant impact in the field.

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