Became Indian Female Mountaineer From Maharashtra At 38 With Slipped Disc Twice, Unfurled Tiranga At Mt. Everest Base camp

Sports By Ritika Tripathi | 5 min read

How many times do we come across a story in our lives where it makes us question ourselves and gives us that much-needed inspiration and motivation to get up and just work hard to achieve our dreams and goals in life. Well, Mad4India have brought one such story of an Indian female mountaineer who despite all the odds worked hard to achieve her dream of climbing the Mt. Everest base camp while suffering slipped discs twice in her life. Read on to know more about her inspirational story.

Before She Became An Indian Female Mountaineer

Indian mountaineer Mital Shah is 38 years old. She has been married for 14 years and has a 10-year-old daughter. She lives with her family in Mumbai. She has a background in B.Pharma and medical device regulatory affairs. Currently, she is working as a regulatory specialist for fragrances in south Asia and flavours (Indian subcontinent).

Indian female mountaineer
Source – Mital Shah

Slipped Disc Injury & Her Struggles To Recover

Mital was slightly overweight and suffered from slipped disc first in 2014, two of her discs were displaced and her cartilage was badly torn in the accident, which made her bedridden for 3 months. Just by thinking of such an accident, chill run done our spine Mital here suffered the pain. Well, it’s a thing with broken bones, they don’t stop at once, after three years, the Indian mountaineer again suffered from a slipped disc in 2017 at November-end in which again 2 of her disc were slipped. And, she was bedridden again for a longer period of time after the second accident.

In the accident, the irreversible damage to her cartilage caused her so much trouble that she was not able to sit and was not able to lift even the slightest weight. This to-be Indian mountaineer was given a lot of words for discouragement for not being able to do any physical activities and even close people used to show her unnecessary sympathy making her feel even more inefficient and weak. But as it said, “One’s will is the weight that one carries”. This Indian mountaineer had much more than the slipped discs she had super strong willpower, and her inability to do little tasks in life did not break her in fact made her who she is today.

Nakam sahi, Naummed nahi

The turning point in this Indian female mountaineer’s life was when she met with her third accident and tragically fell on the bathroom floor and hurt her back again; which aggravated the whole situation for her and she was hospitalized for a week-long time. She was again on the bed but she was not hopeless about life. As a famous Hindi line goes ” Nakam sahi, Naummed nahi“,

During the treatment times, our Indian mountaineer took inspiration from Arunima Sinha(the first Indian female amputee mountaineer to climb Mt. Everest) and decided to climb Everest. With a broken bone she decided to do something no one could have even imagined. She enrolled herself in a trekking company. Without giving it a logical thought only with her will power she made a decision. A decision that surely proved her insane.

A place where a lot of fit people were not able to climb due to climatic conditions and mountain sickness and had to go back; our Indian mountaineer endured all the hardships and discomfort and made it to the top and completed her Everest base camp with flying colours.

Indian female mountaineer
Source – Pexels

Shekar Goud – An inspiring story of India’s first triple amputee to climb Mount Elbrus, the highest peak in Russia

Indian Female Mountaineer Into Making

The journey of Mital in becoming an Indian mountaineer she walked one step at a time. As an ambivert; she used to find it difficult to open up to people; so to be more self-reliant and work on her communication skills; she decided to go for solo trips so that she can manage her trek without any support. Interestingly, during one such trip to Goa, she got a tattoo of the mountains and wrote adventure along with it. As a challenge, she promised herself that she will remove it and endure all the pain – if she won’t able to make it to the Everest base camp.

It was not all bed of roses for Mital, in order to achieve her objective, she had to endure many challenges and pains, both physically and mentally. She was on her own in this journey but her determination and dedication to reach were above all. Even more so than all of that, her own family and relatives opposed her decision to climb Mt. Everest, and no one supported her & raised questions about her health and body. But no one can stop a moving tornado and a strong mind will.

Indian female mountaineer
Source – Mital Shah

The trek was slated for April 2022, but Mital was hesitant to go because her mother had gangrene surgery, she couldn’t work on her fitness, and she couldn’t even manage to purchase mountain equipment. But, then she trusted her gut feeling and decided to go on April 10, 2022, 5 days prior to the actual day of the climb. She told herself even if she won’t able to make it; it would be a learning experience for her.

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The Indian female mountaineer started her trek on April 15, 2022, and she rented all her gear and started her hike. The whole trek is of 8-10 days to reach the base camp, which means 8-10 days of walking up the hill with all the heavy baggage and clothes but Mital was all ready to fight a lifelong criticism she often got. She was capable of doing it all and she did it all with a ‘Tiranga’ in her hand.

Indian female mountaineer
Source – Mital Shah

Finally, She Became An Indian Female Mountaineer

There is no good story without a good climax and this was Mital’s story with her own villains. Every day, they had to climb for 8-10 hrs to climb the Everest base camp. The Indian mountaineer forgot to take the extra windcheaters(light fabric synthetic jackets to resist chill and light rain) and the temperature got worse and worse with every inch of rising height. It started raining heavily and afterwards, it started snowing heavily Mital didn’t have any extra clothes with her and got all wet.

Once, they reached their last destination Gorakshep ; the Indian mountaineer started experiencing severe chest pain and headache i.e. a sign of mountain sickness. And, because of that on the last day which was very difficult for everyone; the Indian female mountaineer got a 102-degree high fever and her O2(oxygen levels) were also dropping to 68-62 since they were going to a higher altitude. But, despite her condition, the Indian mountaineer was only worried about completing her trekking and she risked it all to complete what she started. I know her moves are insane but for her, this was the most fulfilling self-promise made. This 38 YO unfurled the ‘Tiranga’ at the top of the base camp at Mt. Everest.

Indian female mountaineer MITALI SHAH
Source – Mital Shah

On the very same evening, they have to defend down from the Everest base camp to Gorakshep; to defend down it requires only 2-3 days. But, at night Mital’s O2 levels started dropping below 60 which is a risky thing; therefore she was advised to take the helicopter for the same. She got back home, safe and fine.

“Proud of you” My Father Said

After two major and one minor slipped disc accident, after everyone’s rejection of her body and her dreams, and after the hells and heavens standing against her, Mital still climbed the base of Mt. Everest despite the fact that she had never been to a streak before this. It was Mital’s first streak and ‘bang on’. But for our Indian female mountaineer, her biggest achievement was not the climb but making her father proud. Her father was always proud of his daughter but never had the guts to say it out loud, in fact, he insisted on giving up on the idea of climbing the base of Mt. Everest. But when she shared the news with her father, like any other Indian parent he decided to boast about his daughter and uploaded a picture of his newly found mountain-winning daughter.

Mitali shah
Source – Mital Shah

My father said – “Proud of You”. Since my parents were against this trek first-hand but such words of appreciation coming from their mouths meant the world to me.

Apart from that Mital is also passionate about photography you can connect with her on her Instagram.

If you loved reading about Arunima Sinha, know more about Shekar Goud – An inspiring story of India’s first triple amputee to climb Mount Elbrus, the highest peak in Russia

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