Daughter of a fish seller, Sabita Mahto, 23, from Bihar’s Saran district has scaled heights few girls her age would even think of.
Having conquered five peaks — Satopanth (Uttrakhand), Kedardome (Uttrakhand), Gourichen (Andhra Pradesh), Renock and Sotke Kangri (Ladakh) — each over 5,000 metres in height, she has now set her eyes on Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak at 8,848 metres. But financial constraints are holding her back.
“My preparations are done. I am waiting for sponsorship because it will cost me at least Rs 25 lakh to climb the Everest,” said Savita, who developed an interest in mountaineering while pursuing her graduation in geography.
Expedition charges include climbing permit, fee of liaison officer, visa, porter charges, icefall ladders, fixed ropes, insurance, tent, food and fuel. Besides, at least eight oxygen cylinders are required for a mountaineer to return after scaling the Everest.
Sabita hopes to become the first woman to take the same route on return from the Everest.
“Generally, those who climb Mt Everest, take a shortcut on return. But I plan to return by the same route as the one I take for my journey to scale the Everest”, she added.
It was not easy for Sabita to convince her parents to allow her to do something different. “My father initially refused to allow me take admission at the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling, in 2014, but relented when he saw me doing rock climbing one day,” she told HT.
As she waits for sponsorship, Sabita has taken up another challenge. She has embarked on an India tour on her bicycle to spread the message of ‘save the girl child’.
Having kicked off her campaign on January 27, she has so far covered 4,000 kms, having touched upon Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Goa, covering an average 120 kms a day.
In course of her cycle expedition, she often comes across lewd comments, and gets perturbed, even feeling unsafe at times. Yet, Sabita is determined to continue her journey to spread the social message.
“I will fight to achieve my goals. I will never step back and one day I will make everyone proud,” she signed off.