The many women who scaled great heights

Telangana woman police officer scales Himalayan peak

ADILABAD,TELANGANA,04/10/2015:G.R. Radhika on way to the summit of the Kun mountain.-Photo: By Arrangement   | Photo Credit: BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

As any mountaineer would do, G.R. Radhika, the rather frail looking police officer in Adilabad district of Telangana, also swears by Sir Edmund Hillary's belief, “It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves”. And her concurrence with the legendary mountaineer does matter as she has become the first Indian woman to conquer the 7,077 m high Kun mountain, the twin of Nun, located in the inhospitable Zanskar range of Himalayas in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Additional Superintendent of Police performed the feat on September 7 after a gruelling climb for over 10 days. The Indian Mountaineering Foundation subsequently declared her to be holding the record for an Indian woman.

“I am a bit of a risk taker,” reveals Ms. Radhika. “I was brought up more like a boy than a girl,” says the younger of the two children of a teacher couple as she tries to reason out her craving for adventure.

“I like to accept challenges which is why I quit my earlier job as an English language lecturer and took up policing,” she adds.

It was in 2012 that this mother of two belonging to the Rayalaseema region of Andhra Pradesh — Anantapur, her birth place, and Kadapa, where she grew up — got to know about mountaineering as a sport. “One of my friends suggested I get trained in mountain climbing after I successfully completed the difficult pilgrimage to Mount Kailash and Mansarovar,” Ms. Radhika recalls.

This set in motion her as yet short yet illustrious association with the sport. She finished her basic and advanced mountaineering courses which was, among other things, a confidence building exercise. “As part of the course I climbed the 5,980 m high Golep Kangri peak, also in the harsh Zanskar range in 2013,” Ms. Radhika states. “The following year, I scaled the 6,443 m high mount Menthosa in Himachal Pradesh which was all technical climbing,” she adds.

The policewoman enrolled herself for the Kun expedition with a recognised mountaineering outfit and set off towards it in the latter half of August. The team consisted of 7 mountaineers, some of them much experienced.

“Five of them dropped out on our way to the peak,” Ms. Radhika remembers trying to drive home the point about the difficulty quotient which even had her lose 4 kg of her weight. “Kun is considered more difficult because of its numerous crevasses and the 'walls' which meant a vertical climb of even 300 m at some place with a load of 6 kg,” she shrugs off a shudder as recent memories came flooding back.

Having seen her teammates back out did not diminish the gutsy woman's enthusiasm in any way though she swears that it was only will power that kept her driving towards the peak. “The peak was visible but seemed ever so far thanks to the fatigue,” she recalls of her final effort.

Ms. Radhika is seriously contemplating making an attempt at scaling Mount Everest. “I have not decided as yet but I am definitely inclined to do so,” she asserts.

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Printable version | Oct 21, 2021 9:59:09 AM |

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