A peek into the feats of twins who peak together

When you first meet the twins Tashi Malik and Nungshi Malik, you get an impression that they are just any other 23-year-old girls, filled with zest for life yet always thinking about their future.

But, then again, not all 23-year-olds have scaled summits of six of the highest mountains across five continents. And not all girls their age devote time creating awareness about the plight of girl children in the country through their activities.

Children of a retired Army officer, the girls who originally hail from Haryana, have lived in various places in the country and are adventure junkies.   

The Malik twins were visiting their relatives in Bangalore, when Deccan Herald caught up with them on Sunday for a tete-a-tete. Wearing identical T-shirts and trousers, the twins have achieved every single feat together.

“It all started after our class 12 when we enrolled for mountaineering lessons. This soon turned into an addiction and in no time we completed the advanced course and wanted more. Even our father did not expect us to take it up that seriously,” said Tashi who is older than her twin by 21 minutes.

By February 2012, the twins had already scaled the highest mountain in Africa, Mt Kilimanjaro while, on a trip to the continent. Over the next two years, they climbed Mt Elbrus (Russia), Mt Aconcagua (South America), Mt Mckinley (North America). “All of this happened so quickly over the course of about five to 10 months,” said Nungshi.  
    
A risky affair

Sharing an anecdote from their Mt Everest trek, Tashi said, “We were going from camp-2 to camp-3 at the Lhotse face. A sherpa who was with us went ahead and started climbing the ice wall ahead. Unfortunately, the rope holding him gave way and he started tumbling down.

I still remember his luggage being thrown into the air as he rolled down. He ultimately fell into a gorge. We were psychologically shaken and numb for three days and even had second thoughts about the climb.”

They said that there was another trek to Mt Carstenz Pyramid, the highest mountain in Australia in May 2014, that they did not want to repeat. “While the summit was not very high, the hard part was the trek through thick jungles and villages with tribals who were not so welcoming. It was extremely difficult,” said Nungshi. 

Daring acts

Tales such as these highlight the risks involved in mountaineering. However, on the brighter side, there are memories that make such daring acts all the more worthwhile.

Tashi recounted the last phase of their Mt Everest climb. “After the Hillary Step (a 12-metre rock wall that has to be traversed before reaching the summit), it takes only 45 minutes to the summit. I was a little ahead of Nungshi and waited for her so that we could step on the summit together.

We did not want to quarrel later as to who stepped first on the summit,” said Tashi playfully.
“We were on the highest point on earth and it was unbelievable. Trekking all night, we saw the sun rise from below us. We had a 360 degree view and it felt like we were on another planet,” she added.

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