Meet Malavath Poorna, The Youngest Woman To Climb Everest... She's Only 13 Years Old


For most of us, the idea of climbing Mount Everest seems just about impossible, let alone at the age of 13.

But one amazing girl has done just that - Malavath Poorna from Andhra Pradesh in India has become the youngest woman in history to scale Everest.

According to The Times of India, Poorna and another student, 16-year-old Anand Kumar, ascended the 29,029-foot peak from the Tibetan side of the mountain.

Led by ten Nepalese guides, the pair's expedition took an impressive 52 days.

For adventurers of any age, climbing Everest is no mean feat. Altitude above roughly 26,000 feet does not have enough oxygen to sustain human life. More than 250 people have died attempting the taxing climb.

Malavath and Andhra were among 150 children "initially chosen for adventure sports as part of the society's initiative to promote excellence in the students of the society."

Of these children, 20 were sent to a mountaineering institute in Darjeeling and nine were sent to the Indo-China border on an expedition.

Malavath and Andhra were the only two chosen to tackle Everest on the grounds that they displayed "a higher degree of toughness and endurance."

HuffPost UK Lifestyle caught up with her to find out more about her journey.

HuffPost UK: How did you feel when you reached the top?

Malavath Poorna: When I first saw the summit, I started running towards it... I just couldn’t wait to fly my national flag.

Once I reached the mountain top and looked around, the world suddenly seemed very small - I felt on top of the world.

HP: How did you keep going and stay motivated? Were there any moments when you wanted to give up and turn back?

MP: At times I felt down due to altitude sickness or food (I didn’t really like the smell of it). But when I felt like this, all I had to do was remember my parents words “you can change your life if you put your mind to it” and I knew I had to keep going.

Opportunities in life are very rare. I was born and brought up in a rural, tribal community and I was desperately looking for an opportunity to improve my life.

I want to become a role model for my community, to encourage more children in my area to challenge themselves and stride forward.

HP: What qualities does one need to climb Everest?

MP: Everest is a very harsh environment. Climbing it requires a lot of energy, physical fitness, strong willpower, mental and moral stability.

HP: Describe your training schedule

MP: The initial training phase in Bhongir/Nalgonda District of Andhra Pradesh was rock climbing, which wasn’t much harder than being at home and fetching water from downhill near.

The second phase, however, was snow mountaineering in the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute of Darjeeling in West Bengal India. It took me some time to cope with the cold environment, but I managed it.

To prepare for the final expedition we did a lot of varied training, including rock climbing, trekking, glacier walking, survival in harsh environments and disaster encounter management, as well as coaching to help us deal with the trip mentally.

HP: What are your plans for the next 12 months?

MP: I am going back to school. I can’t neglect my education, without education we are nothing - most of our community people are living in miserable conditions due to lack of education. These are life lessons from my parents.

HP: And after you’ve finished school?

MP: After my studies, my next physical challenge is Kilimanjaro.

According to Times Of India, tribal residential schools society secretary Dr.R.S.Praveen Kumar, who Malavath credits as her mentor, says the students have proven that students from poor families can excel in life, if given training and guidance.

We think the teenagers should be very proud of their achievement, and the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi agrees - he tweeted the pair to say congratulations.

The expedition was sponsored by the Andhra Pradesh Social Welfare Educational Society.


Malavath Purna 13-year-old becomes youngest person to climb Everest

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