BENGALURU: It was on Could 29, 1953 that Tenzing Norgay reached the summit of Mount Everest. He was one of many first males to take action and it occurred to be his birthday.
The day means lots to Bengalurean Usha Ramaiah, who was impressed by Norgay to climb the 22,490 ft excessive Mrigthuni mountains in 1964.
Usha, the primary Karnataka lady to scale a Himalayan peak as a part of the primary Indian all-woman Himalayan expedition staff, remembers the historic climb from 56 years in the past prefer it occurred yesterday.
“These have been days when ladies mountaineers from India have been remarkable,” laughs Usha, now 79, as she browses by way of black and white pictures from her Mrigthuni climb in October 1964 when she was solely 22.
An athlete from the 1962 science batch of Mount Carmel Faculty, Usha then lived in Basavanagudi.
“I bear in mind studying the Illustrated Weekly which had detailed protection of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s historic Everest climb, which turned an inspiration over time,” says Usha.
A turning level got here in 1963 when Usha was chosen for a rock-climbing course in Pipariya, Madhya Pradesh as a part of lady scouts and the lead coach was none apart from Norgay himself.
She excelled within the course and was picked for superior climbing at Himalayan Mountaineering Institute in Darjeeling, once more to be educated underneath him.
“Whereas many discouraged me by saying climbing was not for women, my mother and father supported my dream. I took a prepare from Chennai to Kolkata en path to the Mrigthuni base camp,” says the Bengalurean, recalling her six-day solo journey by way of trains, boats and buses to succeed in Darjeeling to be a part of the expedition in 1964.
The staff, together with Usha from Bangalore, Rani from Hyderabad, and Durga from Shillong amongst others, was led by veteran English mountaineer Joyce Dunsheath.
“There was no specialised climbing gear for ladies these days; we had to make use of males’s jackets and boots. We borrowed gear from Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and commenced our journey on September 20,1964 from Darjeeling,” she reminisces.
After 13 harrowing days of ascent, with no oxygen assist or superior navigation gear, Usha, Rani and Durga reached the Mrigthuni peak on October 12, 1964, whereas the others gave in to mountain illness.
“It was a memorable day and I bear in mind feeling the chilly wind on my cheeks as I stood on the summit and seemed down,” says Usha. Her identify made it to high school textbooks in Karnataka and the postal division issued a particular cowl in commemoration.
Greater than 56 years have handed since that October afternoon, however Usha’s feelings nonetheless run excessive when she recollects the moments on the mountain. She’s is now on a quest to find the ladies who accompanied her, by way of on-line searches and cellphone calls.

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