Updated on: Thursday, May 30, 2019, 12:26 AM IST

TEDx Gateway 2018: Mountaineers Nungshi and Tashi Malik feel mountains do not discriminate based on gender!


The twins Nungshi and Tashi Malik are a well-bonded team who have achieved many global landmarks in mountaineering. In 2013, barely 21 years old,they became world’s first female twins to scale Mt Everest. Now they have dedicated their adventure mission to Indian girl child with the motto ‘Gender Equality Now: Fight Female Foeticide’. Last year they started ‘NungshiTashi Foundation’ with the twin objectives of promoting Outdoors Leadership and girl empowerment through outdoors.

Here is the list of their World Records
First female twins to scale Mt Everest (entered in Guinness world records)
First siblings & twins to climb‘Seven Summits’(highest peaks in all continents) (entered in Guinness world records)
First siblings & twins to complete Adventurers Grand Slam & the Three Pole Challenge
Youngest persons ever to complete Adventurers Grand Slam & the Three Pole Challenge (entered in Guinness world records) Until April 2017.
First twins to reach South Pole on Skis (last degree)
First twins to reach North Pole on Skis, (last degree)
First female twins to scale New Zealand’s highest peak, Mt Cook in Dec 2016 National/South Asian Records
First South Asians to complete Adventurers Grand Slam & the Three Pole Challenge
Youngest South Asians to scale the ‘Seven Summits’
First Indian women to climb all ‘Seven Summits’ in first attempt (overall 2nd Indian women)
Youngest and fastest South Asians to reach North & South Pole on Skis (completed in less than 4 months)
First Indian & South Asian women to reach North & South Pole on Skis Awards Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award: Aug 2016 (By President of India)
Leif Erikson Young Explorer Award: Oct 2016 (By President of Iceland)
New Zealand Prime Minister Sports Scholarship
US Govt scholarship for global sports mentoring program

How do you plan to make a balance between your passion and career?
We aren’t into any career yet! Our climbing passion is slowly evolving into profession without us even realizing it.We have double bachelor’s degrees in mass communication and sport science and a half master’s degree in peace building.We are brand ambassadors for big US high altitude gear company Mountain Hardwear and are regular public speakers. Our foundation will occupy sizeable part of our time,so will various upcoming adventures and expeditions.Yes, what-ever we do will be outdoors and adventure centric! Bollywood had offered a biopic in 2013 which we turned down.


How did you get involved in mountaineering?
By default, initially we got into climbing purely for its educational value in promoting selfawareness and self-confidence. In first exposure itself we fell in love with it.Yes, despite initial parent’s disapproval we kept dreaming and persuading them to allow us to follow our passion. Mom was the biggest obstacle for over two years and finally she relented for one time attempt at Mt Everest. The ‘rest is history’ as they say!

What makes you different from others?
Twin girls with roots in rural Haryana setting half dozen Guinness World Records in mountaineering and exploration by age 23!.These on top of brilliant academic performance.

What is the learning lesson audience would get from your talks?
Gender is human reconstruct; mountains (literally and as metaphor) do not discriminate based on gender! Excellence comes when we back our passion with commitment and persistence.We must celebrate being girls and be our own best version.Often parental support and enabling environment is key to girls realizing their wildest dreams.


What are the challenges faced by you?
Numerous gender challenges apart from equally tough financial challenges to support very expensive sport of extreme altitude climbing.General disapproval, lack of support, fear and doubt instilled by apparent‘wellwishers’, peers, relatives and society at large. How many times were we reminded,‘don’t you realize mountaineering isn’t for girls’! Some were clearly visible, most were subtle and ‘well meaning’ advice we call #invisible gender mountains!

What are the learning outcomes in the whole process?
There is a long list of lessons and learning. But the biggest of them all is‘success invariably comes to those who follow their passion with commitment and persistence’. Let fear not take away your dreams. Courage is understanding fear and working past using it as an ally for better preparedness.

Whom do you attribute your success to?
Dad’s support, enabling environment at home and being twins competing against each other! Most importantly, inspiration from Indian girl child who we believe has nerves of steel to be able to climb her daily ‘gender mountains’!


What are your plans for the future?
Manage and expand our Nungshi Tashi Foundation’s Outdoor Leadership School at Mussoorie foothills, annually host South Asia’s
biggest outdoor event‘Base Camp festival’, deliver motivation talks, embark on bigger and bolder expeditions, create outdoor livelihoods for girls, write a book on our journey and find more time for our other great passion ‘dancing’!

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Published on: Sunday, February 04, 2018, 12:17 AM IST