ISP Delhi Bureau
Her achievements are an answer to everyone who blames circumstances for failures. Arunima Sinha, the world’s first female amputee to climb Mount Everest is an inspiration to millions. Her story is of sheer grit and willpower. A saga which is filled with hope and determination. She overcame the worst odds in life to climb not just Everest but five other peaks across various geographies of the world.
It is important for us to know about her odds in life before speaking about her achievements. Arunima, who was a national-level volleyball player, was thrown out of a moving train by thieves who were trying to snatch her gold chain. An oncoming train ran over her and by the time help reached her, around 49 trains had passed by her on the trackside. This 2011 incident had shattered the consciousness of the nation and questions were raised about the security and care of budding sportspersons in the country.
Passers-by took her to Bareilly District Hospital but her leg had to be amputated. In a hospital which was short of anaesthesia, a daring Arunima gave permission to go ahead with procedures without it. She was later moved to AIIMS Delhi after media attention.
It was in Delhi that she read about Mt. Everest in a newspaper and the 15 routes to climb it. She noticed that all the 14 routes have been conquered but the last one is not tried due to its difficulty factor. An amputated Arunima from the bed of AIIMS took the decision to climb Mt Everest through the most difficult route.
She approached the legendary mountaineer Bachendri Pal for mentorship. Pal, though surprised in the beginning, took Arunima in her fold and trained her for the impossible task.
Her golden achievement of climbing Everest, the world’s highest peak, came on May 21, 2013, after an ordeal of 52 days. A period which saw her in circumstances near to death. She fell short of oxygen near the peak and it seemed that the mission would have to be aborted. But she persisted and became victorious.
After the Everest achievement, she climbed Mt Kilimanjaro in Africa in May 2014, Mt. Kosciuszko in Australia in April 2015, Mt Aconcagua in South America in December 2015 and Mt Carstensz in Indonesia in July 2016 which is the highest peak on an island on Earth. The Indian government decorated her with the prestigious civilian award Padma Shri in 2015.
Today, Arunima is a motivational speaker and corporate trainer and is helping individuals overcome their limitations to achieve the impossible. “She shook me out of my comfort zone,” wrote a company head after attending her session commenting on her Instagram page.