Junita to scale seven summits

KATHMANDU: Junita Sambahangphe — the 18th woman to scale Mount Everest — is all set to embark on a mission to scale seven summits, the highest mountains in all the continents.

Sambahangphe will scale Kilimanjaro (5895 metres), Denali (6194 metres), Elbrus (5642 metres), Aconcagua (6962 metres), Carstensz Pyramid (16,023 ft) and Vinson (4897 metres). She has already scaled Mount Everest (8848m), the highest mountain in the world, on May 19.

Sambahangphe will start her expedition from April 2010 with the mission, ‘Peace and Tourism Promotion — Visit Nepal 2011’ from Elbrus, Ukraine (Europe). Sambahangphe who is doing her Masters in gender studies at Padma Kanya Campus said that a good educational background should be a must for people wanting to opt for a career as mountaineer.

“Till date there are very few mountaineers who are well-educated, who can plan their future rather than moving abroad with their family,” she said. According to her, the educational factor is forcing Everest summiteers to shift their families overseas.

“Mountaineers too need academic qualification and special mountaineering courses so that climbing mountains is less riskier,” she said complaining

of the wrong concept of summiteers being uneducated and ignorant.

“People at different levels do not trust us and we have to face hard times to make them agree to our plans,” Sambahangphe said.

According to her, there is increasing pollution on Everest due to garbage collection and the government not being serious towards making people follow the rules there. “Initiatives are being taken by different people but still these are not enough,” she added. Although alcohol is prohibited on Everest , several accidents and deaths have occurred due to the use of alcohol there. “During the season there are more 1000 tourists in the base camp but there is no proper garbage management. Efforts have been made piles of garbage still remain to be collected and removed. The government should implement rules more effectively,” added Sambahangphe. She plans to complete her expedition of scaling seven summits by 2013.

Born in Aambung-9, Terhathum, before climbing Everest she took a 35-day mountaineering course at Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA). She made her first climb of a 6000-metre height and scaled Mt Everest, becoming the 18th woman to do so.

After the seven-summit expedition Sambahangphe plans to engage herself in social work for children and has interest in politics too. According to her, the growing mass of people scaling Everest should be quality mountaineers rather people with self-interest. Many uneducated people take to mountaineering as a viable career option since it has all the trappings of fame and glory. However, this one is a different story.