While you were probably complaining about climbing up two flights of stairs, Anita Kundu, 29, became the first Indian woman to scale the Mount Everest from the Nepal side as well as the China side. Yes, you heard us right. She climbed the highest peak in the world not once – but twice. “The China side is more challenging. I wanted to be the first daughter of India to have climbed from both sides,” says Kundu.
Meet Anita Kundu, a sub-inspecter from Haryana Police
Born in Hisar, Haryana, Kundu joined the Haryana Police in 2008. From an early age, she had been drawn to challenging sports – as a pre-teen, she had trained in boxing. After joining the police force, she wrote to the Director General of Police and informed him about her wishes to train in mount training and eventually climb Mount Everest. In 2009, she was transferred to the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), where she did many advanced courses in mountain climbing. “We were made to undergo the toughest training. From weight training, high altitude running, jungle survival skills to surviving without food or water – we learnt everything,” she recalls.
Climbing every obstacle that came in the way
Kundu first went on a two-month expedition to climb Mount Everest in 2013 from the Nepal side, with a 6-member team. She had to face all the obstacles of being a woman climber as well as a vegetarian. “You can’t bathe for two months due to the freezing weather. Even removing your clothes to go to the loo is a task for a woman!” she explains. She had to survive on dry fruits, soups and packaged foods.
After successfully scaling the peak from the Nepal side, Kundu first attempted to climb Mount Everest from the China side in 2015. Unfortunately, an earthquake occurred when she was at approximately 22,000 ft. A few of her team members did not survive the quake, and many were injured before the rescue team arrived. “None of the people who were there with me ever went back,” she says. But Kundu returned to make another attempt in 2017 and succeeded in hoisting the national flag on the peak on 21st May 2017.
The way forward
Currently, Kundu is on a mission to climb the Seven Summits, which comprise of the highest mountains of each of the seven continents. “I have already climbed 5 of these peaks,” she says. After this expedition, she plans to go back for a second attempt in June 2019 at climbing the Denali mountain in Alaska, which is supposed to be one of the most challenging peaks to climb. She also wants to climb all the 14 peaks in the world that have an altitude of over 8000 metres soon.
“I love adventure and I live adventure. I will keep it close to myself till the day I die,” she says.