An eight-year-old launching herself on an arduous trek to the Everest Base Camp (EBC) left many seasoned climbers stunned. It was a rare accomplishment.
Accompanied by her mother Sneh Wadhwaney, a noted swimmer of her time, and guide-cum-trip leader Sanjiv Rai, little Veera Wadhwaney Dahiya began her trek on March 3 and reached the EBC on March 12.
Many co-trekkers were left in awe as the kid walked eight to nine kilometres daily . The secret of Veera’senergy lay in her long-nurtured love for adventure; she has been trekking with her mother on a regular basis. From the time she was born, Veera’s mother would take her on treks in her hiking carrier, thus Veera’s connection with mountains began early, as an extension of Sneh’s love for outdoor activities.
”She always enjoyed being in the tent, slept peacefully in the sleeping bag and seemed at home in Nature. A no-fuss child, trekking with her was easy and enjoyable. She was able to eat camp meals and a few special treats (chocolate, yoghurt, lassi) carried for her kept her satiated and happy,” says Sneh.
From the time Veera began to walk, she would be excited to join her mother and her friends on treks. “All our holidays always include hikes or treks! Veera has never been scared of walking long distances; she could always be trusted to complete distances,” adds Sneh, proud of her daughter.
Sneh took special care of preparing her daughter for the trip to Everest Base Camp. ”Children are amazing! They are extremely adaptable. This is what I have learned as a parent. Frankly, she sees her parents at home— both of us are sportspeople and active outdoor lovers — we’re happy we have her to join in with our love for the same,” says the mother. .
For Veera’s father, Test cricketer Vijay Dahiya, it was a moment of great joy. “Veera achieved what I had long wanted to,” he says. Vijay is presently working in the Indian Premier League as a coach with Lucknow Super Giants.
A class III student in The British School, Delhi, Veera’s preparation was beyond her age. She undertook multiple short treks throughout last year. In Dec 2022, Veera and Sneh walked the Naranag-Dumail trail in Kashmir. In March 2022, they took the Shumga trek in Himachal followed by a five-day trek to the Hidden Meadows of Garhwal.
Veera also took part in lots of active sports during the mornings and evenings. Being a part of the school athletics and swimming team, she trains regularly. Part of her training regime also includes ballet classes twice a week and bouldering once a week, all helping her to build endurance and strength. “The best thing about Veera is that she never makes a fuss about waking up at 5 every morning for her training sessions,” says Sneh.
Having met a number of amazing young people on her trek to EBC, Veera has come back inspired and full of dreams . She hopes to go on many more treks in the future and is eager to join the IMF (Indian Mountaineering Federation) to learn the essential techniques and tricks.
What does Veera say about her experience? “I loved camping in tree houses. It was fun walking long periods of time every day – eight to nine kilometres. Some places were great. At times, we slept on the floor with no matting. Shared toilets; 12 rooms had to share one toilet. That was a bit disgusting. There was no heating; it was snowing and the water was frozen. Most challenging was coming back. It wasn’t all downhill. It was pretty hard but the guides were awesome.”
“I made friends with climbers. They were excited to see a young girl like me. It felt very nice,” she adds.