Adventure sports might appear fun and exciting, but the risk one takes to dare them are paramount. But seven girls from The Lawrence School, Sanawar, took on an exhilarating chance by conquering Africa’s highest peak Mt Kilimanjaro and made India proud by becoming the youngest female trekkers from the country to achieve the feat.
Mahika Goel, Kashish Pathania, Avanti Aggarwal, Roshni, Megan Bhagirat, Ananya Panchhar, and Ishampreet Kaur were the wonder-women on this adventure. Between 15 and 18 years of age, the team of girls went on an intense training and preparatory programme before taking the leap. The peak, which is located in Tanzania, East Africa, is at 5,895 metres above sea level and an extremely difficult one to scale.
Ananya Panchhar, a part of the team, calls this one of the best experiences of her life. She believes that it was their rigorous training that helped them pull this off. She says, “Our Rishikesh training taught us endurance. It gave us the belief that you will get there (to the top) if you keep going. Then, we trained in Ladakh, where it gave us the feeling of training on a high-altitude with limited oxygen and low resources.
It taught us to manage time and our mental abilities.” The road to the journey was filled with various challenges. Panchhar recalls, “The climbing during the last end was very tough for us. I was feeling scared since the temperature was so low and chilly.”
Speaking of how it felt to reach the top, Mahika Goel describes, “The feeling was one of its kind. When we reached the top, it was all worth it the struggle and the pain. It was so beautiful. Everything was just perfect at the moment.” She also adds that “The Journey helped all of us grow. I have discovered myself a lot; like my strengths and weaknesses. I will take this journey as a great lesson which will continue to help me in the future and make me a better person.”
Kashish Pathania also shares her absolute delight on scaling Mt Kilimanjaro. She describes the moment of reaching the top as “a mixture of joy and shivering experience”. An avid traveller, Pathania says, “My wanderlust has taken me to the deepest corners of the country — places where there are no mobile networks, no charging points not even a single human that you can see around.
The beauty of Mother Nature charms me with a picturesque view and this trip was no different as I witnessed true might of her benevolence. While we went ahead with an open mind, we came back with a bag full of memories.”
Another student Megan Bhagirat recalls the difficult parts of the journey. She explains how she has numerous moments where she thought of dropping the plan and was always anxious if she would live up to the expectations of her parents and teachers or not. “It was always like what if everything does not turns out to be good. But, my father had always been my source of motivation,” she says. “After 11 days of trekking and climbing, we were there where we wanted to be. It gave us immense pleasure and all our problems seemed very small then. It was 11am when we reached the summit and we couldn't help but smile all through our return,” she concludes. Ajeet Bajaj, an alumnus of the school and a renowned mountaineer was also present on the journey to guide the troop.