Everest on mind, Solan’s Baljeet Kaur heads to Nepal for 41-day expedition

Published on Mar 25, 2022 03:42 AM IST

Daughter of a retired Himachal Road Transport Corporation driver, Kaur has earned accolades from the mountaineering community and holds a record of being the first Indian woman to conquer 8,167m high Mount Dhaulagiri

Baljeet Kaur has scaled 11 peaks, and counting. (HT Photo)
Baljeet Kaur has scaled 11 peaks, and counting. (HT Photo)
ByShalini Gupta, Chandigarh

It has been almost a year since Baljeet Kaur, a 27-year-old woman from Himachal Pradesh’s Solan, became one of the first Indian woman mountaineers to summit the 7,161m high Mount Pumori in Nepal-Tibet region along with Gunbala Sharma from Rajasthan.

Daughter of a retired Himachal Road Transport Corporation driver, Kaur has earned accolades from the mountaineering community and holds a record of being the first Indian woman to conquer 8,167m high Mount Dhaulagiri, which she climbed on October 1 last year.

Now, she has set her eyes on Mount Everest and is heading for Mount Annapurna expedition (8,091m) beginning March 28.

“I have been training hard and climbing peaks in order to prepare myself for my final destination. I want to excel and make my country proud. My mother has been my inspiration, who always pushed me to go after my dreams. Financial constraints are there, but I am determined and looking for sponsors,” said Kaur, who was born in Plasta Panjrol village near Solan.

In her mountaineering career, Kaur has scaled 11 peaks, and counting. “I have put in my heart and soul to ascend Mount Everest this season,” she said.

“This is going to be a very tough challenge. I have prepared well for this 41-day expedition. Arranging funds had been a huge task. A lot of time has been lost due to the Covid pandemic. Now, I want to take make expedition a step towards my ultimate dream,” added Kaur.

She had always been in love with the mountains, but little did she know about mountaineering until she read a chapter on that in Class 7.

Her tryst with climbing began in 2015. It was a team of 10 young mountaineers handpicked from a NCC group to summit 7,120m high Mount Trishul, in which she was one of the participants.

“It was a life-changing experience for everyone. It helped me discover myself and my first expedition quickly turned me into an ardent mountaineer,” said Kaur, who became a life coach when the pandemic hit the world.

“I had to earn money and I had vast knowledge of fitness training. So, I coached a lot of people during the lockdowns. My parents are simple farmers. It will take a lot to keep pursuing my dream of scaling Mount Everest one day. I just know I have to keep doing well. I am committed to achieving this feat,” she said.

A well-known face in corporate sector for guiding and mentoring young mountaineers, Kaur said yoga and meditation are what keep her going.

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