International Mountain Day: Mountaineers make the most of pandemic pause
While most of us felt like hostage when asked to stay indoors due to the pandemic, the mountaineers defied this feeling. They took this break to work harder than the routine and prepared themselves to conquer new peaks once Covid-19 situation improves. On International Mountain Day, today, some Delhi-NCR mountaineers share how mountains became their muse during the pandemic, and instilled motivation and inspiration in them to stay strong.
Hisar-based 19-year-old Shivangi Pathak, the youngest Indian female to reach the summit of Mount Everest, says, “I hardly ever spent so much time without being in the mountains before this. Mountains are my inspiration. They give me strength. I have learnt so much from them, and I feel that everyone must spend at least 4-5 days on mountains twice a year. During the pandemic, to keep myself fit, I wake up early in the morning when everyone is asleep and then workout. This routine started in the lockdown, and even now I’m following this regime while maintaining social distancing. I don’t wear mask while working out and that’s why I prefer to practice in the wee hours of morning. In fact, I’m in my hometown and my mother is making such amazing food, but I choose to eat healthy and stay healthy. It’s a challenge to not have that food.”
“I do miss the mountains. They have given me hope and aspiration to become better each day like a personal challenge,” says Sangeeta S Bahl, a Gurugram-based mountaineer whose last summit was Mount Everest in 2018. She adds, “Nature is enthralling whilst mountains are majestic form of spirituality. Summits on top of peaks have become the defining moments of my life where adversity, insurmountable challenges became a dream that was captured. Other people seek answers from Mother Nature creating a calmness in a pristine environment. And this is why to find peace all run to the mountains and lap of nature. The pandemic was very effective for me and my husband, who is also a mountaineer.”
Sangeeta’s husband, Ankur Bahl, also a mountaineer, opines, “The self-imposed isolation during the pandemic was akin to being in the mountains! Mountains to me are the epitome of sacredness and hope and people love to head to the hills for recharging themselves... All this while (during the pandemic) I’ve been constantly training in our home gym for the North Pole next year, if it so happens. Work from home and now office has kept me busier than usual and family time has been lesser in fact, but I’ve managed to play scrabble and have OTT screen time.”
Sangeeta adds, “We both trained ourselves six days a week, not just physically but mentally as well. We bought new gym equipment, shoes for running and lots of books to build our mental strength; I’m also writing my autobiography. I even train aspiring mountaineers, and this year started a nutrition course for myself.”
Author tweets @ruchikagarg271