Kolkata: May 22 will go down in the annals as a proud day for every Bengali. They can’t help smiling ear to ear, with Piyali Basak from Chandhannagar in Hooghly district creating history by climbing Mt. Everest without any supplemental oxygen.
Piyali was also the first woman to climb Mt. Dhaulagiri last October without supplemental oxygen; and, within seven months, she has added another feather to her cap by climbing the herculean Everest.
According to a close aide, Piyali had faced much hardship, especially financial, in her endeavour. Even after mortgaging her house and rummaging through meagre savings, she could only shell out Rs 18 lakh. To climb the Everest, one needs at least Rs 35 lakh.
When the Nepal government made it clear that they won’t allow anyone near the base camp, unless the full amount is on the table, Piyali took to Facebook and appealed for crowdfunding of her venture: it raised Rs five lakh. But even then she was short by Rs 12 lakh, which thankfully an agency said it would pay.
Not just in West Bengal, but elsewhere in the entire country, there are hardly any examples of climbing Mt. Everest without supplemental oxygen. But Piyali has been a brave girl since childhood.
In 2019, due to bad weather conditions, she had to return without climbing the Everest.