Arunima Sinha standing on top of Mt. Everest.
Arunima Sinha standing on top of Mt. Everest.

Rebirth in the Cradle of Everest

  • Mount Everest has engulfed even the most experienced veterans but not Arunima Sinha, a woman who conquered the highest peak in the world with an amputated leg.
By Life Beyond Numbers
PUBLISHED ON JUL 22, 2021 12:40 PM IST

Born on 20th July 1989

On her way to interview for her dream job in the CISF, tragedy beset Arunima Sinha. While resisting a group of robbers who were trying to loot her, Sinha fell off the bogey and onto the train tracks. She saw another train coming and tried to get up but unfortunately, couldn't muster up the courage to.

As the train crushed her leg, she could see her life flash in front of her eyes. 25 months later, she became the first-ever amputee to successfully climb Mount Everest.

Born on this day to a modest family in Ambedkar Nagar, her father died when she was young. Sinha's mother, a supervisor in the Health Department, had to juggle her responsibilities as a mother of three and those that accompanied her job. Her struggle instilled an indomitable spirit in Arunima.

She excelled in sports from a young age and had the honour of playing volleyball at the national level. However, like her father who was in the Indian Army, she too wanted to serve the nation in the paramilitary forces.

She got the coveted call letter from CISF (Central Industrial Security Force) in 2011. Arunima's life was about to change, but not in the way she expected it to. The accident changed everything. To save her life, her leg had to be amputated.

In the aftermath of her accident, she received monetary compensation and subsidised costs but Arunima couldn't bear to look at the way people saw her now. Everyone looked at her with pity and sorrow, which fueled the fire within her to make something of her life.

Inspired by Yuvraj Singh and his fight against cancer, Arunima was born again on her hospital bed in AIIMS, Delhi. This is when she decided to scale the peak of Everest and her family supported her decision. She received a lot of unsolicited advice from others, but Sinha couldn't care less.

After getting discharged, she began her training. To gain a better understanding of the climb, she met Bachendri Pal, the first woman to have reached the peak of Everest.

Pal quipped- "My child you decided to climb Mount Everest in these situations with a prosthetic leg. You had climbed, achieved Mount Everest my child now just the date is remaining to the world to know".

Trained at the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering and TATA Steel Adventure, she went to Everest via the Tata-sponsored Eco Everest Expedition. While other people along with her gave up, she kept on going.

Two hours away from the peak, her oxygen levels began to deteriorate and so were her sherpa's. Her sherpa advised that they should head back to the base camp and try again the next day, but she refused. The sherpa, in awe of her spirit, decided to continue with her and at 10:55 am on 21 May 2013, Arunima Sinha etched her name into history books by becoming the first-ever amputee to have climbed Everest.

So many years later, Arunima remains one of the few people to have climbed the highest peaks in all the seven continents, the last one being Mount Vinson in Antarctica. Her life serves as a reminder to everyone who loses hope; more than to herself and to the world, she undertook these expeditions for those in a similar position as her, "so that they never lose heart and achieve their dreams. By conquering all the seven summits I will prove that physical disability can never be a hindrance in achieving your life's goal if you have mental strength, strong willpower and firm determination."

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