Priyanka Mohite from Satara in Maharashtra has become the first Indian woman to scale Mt Annapurna, the tenth highest mountain peak in the world. The news of the 28-year-old achieving this remarkable feat was shared by her employer, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Executive Chairperson of Biocon Limited, on Twitter. Mazumdar-Shaw also shared an image of Mohite unfurling the national flag atop the peak.
Mt Annapurna is a massif in the Himalayas, which is located in Nepal. It has a peak with an altitude of over 8,000 metres, which is hard to scale, even for some of the top mountaineers in the world. Also called the ‘Killer Mountain’, the mountain peak poses several risks to mountaineers; one misstep and you can lose your life.
Despite the lockdown in 2020, Mohite and other mountaineers who were part of the Mt Annapurna expedition put their best foot forward, when it came to training. The pandemic was harsh for everyone, but Mohite didn’t want it to wipe off her mountaineering dreams.
A year later, Mohite attempted to scale the mountain peak on April 15, 2021, but could not due to shortage of mountaineering ropes, and inclement weather conditions. The next day, she and some others were led by a veteran Sherpa guide on their journey to the summit.
According to media reports, as many as 68 women scaled Mt Annapurna on April 16. This is the highest number of climbers to reach the top of the mountain in a single day.
Mohite has in the past also climbed Mt Everest (8,849 metres) in 2013, Mt Lhotse (8,516 metres) in 2018, as well as Mt Makalu (8,485 metres) and Mt Kilimanjaro (5,895 metres) in 2016. Interestingly, she scaled Mt Everest when she was only 21, making her the third youngest Indian to do so.
She has always been passionate about mountaineering, and has worked hard to fulfil her dreams. Mohite was only a teenager when she scaled Bandarpunch, a mountain massif of the Himalayas in Uttarakhand, in 2012. Three years later, she scaled Mt Methosa (6,443 metres), the second-highest peak in the Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh.
Mohite has also been conferred upon with the Maharashtra government’s Shiv Chhatrapati State Award for adventure sports in the year 2017-18.
She is currently an employee at Syngene International Limited, Biocon’s research organisation that provides customised solutions to pharma and biotech majors in synthetic chemistry and molecular-biology, to aid in early-stage drug discovery and development.
(Edited by Amrita Ghosh)