Meet Baljeet Kaur, the First Indian Woman to summit Mount Manaslu without oxygen. She is also the youngest woman to do so. Belonging to Dev Bhoomi of Himachal Pradesh, Baljeet is breaking many records with her courageous nature and firm determination.
In September 2022, Baljeet completed her expedition to Mount Manaslu which is at the height of 8163 M without the support of any oxygen. She is the first Indian to climb 7 mountains of 8000 M height and also the fastest person in India to climb 6 of them in 5 months and 2 days. Baljeet Kaur is also a world record holder for running 9490 km with 20 runners in 960 hours.
The story of Baljeet is full of ups and downs but it is her perseverance and determination because of which she is able to achieve her dreams.
Here is Baljeet’s journey from a simple village girl to a record holder Mountaineer in her own words.
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Tell us something about yourself and about your journey as a mountaineer.
Belonging to the Solan district of Himachal Pradesh, I was always fascinated by snowfall but unfortunately, I never experienced it. So I have had this fascination with snow since I was a kid.
My entire childhood was spent in the village, I was not good at academics. But a few things were very clear to me from the beginning and that was to work and improve my educational efficiency and transform myself into a more powerful personality.
I never thought of mountaineering as a career option. In 2014, when I was waiting for my examination results, I came across a newspaper article about a girl from Rajasthan who had climbed Mount Everest. That article inspired me a lot. And that was the beginning of my dream of becoming a Mountaineer.
Have you ever experienced failure while climbing mountains?
I have never failed but I have learned. I believe that when we try to do anything good and it doesn’t get completed, we don’t lose, instead, we learn more. I got to learn a lot in my life. Especially when I was selected for Mount Everest and went to the mountain but I had to come back 300 meters from the summit. But the fighter spirit inside me motivated me again and I started preparing for my next summit.
You also hold the record of the first Indian woman to summit true Mount Manaslu. How do you feel about it?
After the failed attempt of 2016, I was determined that I have to give my everything for this. And I am not going back without doing it. The determination to summit Mount Manaslu was strong in me that brings me where I am today. I still remember the feeling of reaching the top of Mount Manaslu, and that happiness I cannot describe in words.
With the aim to win the world, I started climbing in 2021. I became the First Indian Woman to summit Mount Pumori and Mount Dhaulagiri. In 2022, I summited Annapurna, Kanchenjunga and Everest which are above the height of 8000 Metres.
I usually say to myself that I am limitless. And I challenge myself with new difficulty levels to test my limits and capabilities. That’s what I did when I climbed Mount Manaslu without any oxygen. I know what I am capable of and that is why I won the title of “first Indian woman to summit true Mount Manaslu without any oxygen”.
What message do you want to convey to aspiring mountaineers?
I want them to know that nothing is impossible. No mountain is too high if you have firm determination and confidence in yourself. Don’t ever think that you cannot do this. If you at any point in time have self-doubt then take a deep breath and think why have you started and start once again with full power.