'There's always a fear of losing each other'

'There's always a fear of losing each other'

Yes, they have done it once again! On 4 June, 2014, Nungshi and Tashi Malik who just last year became world’s first twin sisters to climb Mount Everest, set sixth world record by becoming world’s youngest pair of twin sisters to scale Mount McKinley, North America’s tallest peak.

Having just returned from North America, Tashi and Nungshi are now in India for a brief respite before their next excursion in Antarctica. The twin sisters hail from Sonepat in Haryana, a state infamous for its exceptionally poor sex ratio.

And they are not just twins by birth, they do everything together, even their educational courses.

23-year-olds have done their BA in journalism from Sikkin Manipal University and Half Masters programme in Peace Building and Conflict Transformation from the USA.

Talking to Metrolife about the experience of conquering the peaks, Tashi, said, “We were exposed to this sport by our father. He was the one who encouraged us to join the mountaineering course in Uttarkashi. And there, we actually discovered our passion for mountaineering after getting the amazing exposure.
We are even qualified instructors now.”

According to her, Nungshi is equally focussed on her passion for mountaineering. “From the beginning, we follow each other’s footsteps.

And being together is our biggest strength. But, there is a constant fear of losing each other because mountains don’t know you and anything can happen.

And we also do not share any kind of bad news or casualties with our mother. Although, we tell it to our father as he is more stronger. We are just small creatures in front of the mountains,” added Tashi.

“In one year, 25 mountaineers have died. The weather is extreme, there are chances of tripping down, health issues, less oxygen, there are various reasons why people die,” said the young mountaineer.

Talking about tough times women face while climbing the giant peaks, Tashi, said, “Maintaining hygiene is one of the biggest factors. It is really sad.

The worst phase while climbing the mountains is definitely the time one goes through the menstruation cycle,” she confides.

The ‘tough’ girls are also facing challenges in terms of finances. “Finances have been tight for us. My father borrows money from his friends and spends all his savings. We are facing a tough time looking for financers. My father has spoken to a lot of companies, but they are hesitant because this sport doesn’t have an audience. And each permit for our excursion requires lakhs of rupees,” said Nungshi.

Climbing Mt Everest cost them Rs 20 lakh per head, whereas the excursion in Antartica would come to Rs 30 lakh per head.

Sharing the feeling when they finally conquer the peaks, Nungshi said. “We cannot explain how we actually feel. It is actually out of the world...a totally mixed feeling. We cry, we shout...its incredible. All our tiredness goes away. And the best feeling in when we hoist our national flag.”

If on one hand, the girls are happy about their achievements, they are worried about the future of this sport.

The Government is not doing much to promote this sport. In some states, mountaineering is considered as part of tourism and in some it comes under sports. There is no clarity at all,” said Nungshi.

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