This 23-year-old Udupi woman goes mountaineering to challenge herself- The New Indian Express

Express news service

UDUPI: The Himalayas form the epicenter of the mountaineering boom, reflecting multiple emotions – of admiration, endurance and glory – for those who want to face its snow-capped peaks and rock faces. While this inhospitable mountain range may present a challenge or two to those who want to reach its top, the difficulty of scaling the heights of life’s challenges comes with its own necessary preparation and uncertainty.

This story of a young woman from Udupi, who literally climbs new heights as a mountaineer despite a history of modest means, is as interesting as it is inspiring. Sumalatha Bajagoli has always taken life head on. Daughter of a day laborer and a housewife, the young wife of Maala, Bajagoli of Karkala taluk in the district of Udupi has learned the art of getting out of financial perils since childhood. Insensitive to struggles, the 23-year-old has chosen a rewarding life path, albeit difficult, precarious and fraught with deadly dangers.

Driven by determination and determination, Sumalatha embarked on mountaineering. “The principal of my college, Suchitra Suvarna, motivated me to undertake it and also allowed me to be part of a mountaineering expedition organized by the General Thimayya National Academy of Adventure,” she says.

After climbing mountains in parts of the Himalayas in 2017 and 2019, in September of this year she completed her third mountaineering adventure, climbing a height of 15,407 feet at Pahalgam Mount Sunset Point in Jammu-et- Cashmere. She was part of a team of 30 members, including 10 women.

Frankly emphasizing her family background, from where she traveled “to the Himalayas,” she says, “It would take a lot of planning, money and support if I were to reach such heights on my own. But helpful people have kindled the fire of bravery and bravery in me since my college days. My manager supported me during my stay at the hostel of the Department of Social Welfare in Udupi. I was pursuing bachelor’s degree in journalism at Dr G Shankar Government Women First Grade College in Ajjarakad. She suggested that I continue mountaineering and very quickly, I convinced my parents. Initially, they had reservations, but eventually realized my interest and my talent. Having been on three of these mountaineering expeditions since 2017, they are now praising my decision, ”she says happily.

While many courageous women have been at the forefront of mountaineering adventures, it is widely seen as a male-dominated activity, but Sumalatha takes a different view. “In fact, it is mental capacity that determines whether or not one can climb a mountain, ruling out altitude sickness, frostbite, hypothermia and problems with acclimatization, in addition to threats. rugged terrain, avalanches and unpredictable weather conditions. Gender does not decide how fit a person is for the sport. In my case, on several occasions I was faster than my male counterparts.

Physical strength does not represent mental endurance. Self-confidence and practice are just as important, ”she explains, adding that the summit of Mount Everest is her life’s dream Rajendra Hasabavi, internationally certified climber and manager at the General Thimayya National Academy of Adventure, Bengaluru , who trained Sumalatha, told the New Sunday Express that all three components of passion, fitness and discipline are necessary in a mountaineer. “Sumalatha has all of these qualities, which have helped her perform well. During basic mountaineering training, with small-distance expeditions at the start, she has proven herself, ”he says, adding that in adventure sports, more than fitness, l Mental stamina and the ability to take calculated risks are essential, and Sumalatha excelled on all fronts.

Proud parents
Sumalatha’s parents Babu and Bittu say they felt proud when they saw their daughter waving the tricolor on the peaks of the country. They express their confidence that their daughter will continue her mountaineering expedition, despite all her challenges. Sumalatha is known as the “Himalayan girl” in her small village.

Above the world so high
In 2017, overcoming altitude sickness, Sumalatha climbed Sikadhar Shikar, reaching a height of 14,800 feet for the first time. In 2019, she climbed the Thajiwas table at Sonamarg in Jammu and Kashmir, reaching the height of 11,500 feet. During the third expedition, organized by the Indian Mountaineering Foundation with the General Thimayya National Academy of Adventure in September of this year, Sumalatha reached an altitude of 15,407 feet on Mount Pahalgam Sunset Point, still in the territory of the Union.

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