“Sometimes, to change your life, you just need to change the altitude.” That’s the guiding principle behind the FIT@50+ Women’s Trans-Himalayan Expedition that launches in May. We’re both green with envy and bursting with pride because all 10 members of this expedition team are women over 50. And nothing gets us more excited than women our age who are truly testing themselves.
And test themselves they will. They’ll be covering 2,800 miles across some 40 high mountain passes in the Himalayas over their five-month journey.
Leading the expedition is the first Indian woman to summit Mt. Everest, Bachendri Pal, above, who at 67 is also the oldest member of the group. Three of the other trekkers, who all from India, have proved their lungs-of-steel fitness level by summitting Everest as well. The other members are retired professionals and homemakers.
“The expedition aims to address the mindset of our society and highlight the need to keep fit and demonstrate that age and gender is no barrier for a fit and a healthy lifestyle. It will also signify women empowerment, leadership, decision making, lifestyle and the importance of fitness for our entire community,” Pal told the Telegraph. “What makes this expedition more tough is the long duration of five months combined with multiple challenges, including emotional, social, mental factors, physical fatigue, and weather constraints, and all these put together make Fit@50+ women’s Trans Himalayan expedition a unique one.”
The expedition is sponsored by the Tata Steel Adventure Foundation in India.
Taking the High Road
Pal is a certified bad-ass. Just look at these credentials: She summited Everest in 1984 and since then, has led multiple expeditions. In 1993, she was the leader of an Indo-Nepali women’s expedition to Everest. In 1994, she and a team of 18 women rafted 932 miles from Haridwar to Calcutta. And in 1997, she led the first successful traverse of the Indian Himalaya from Bomdila to Siachen, the controversial boundary between Indian and Pakistan. We want her genes and cojones!
The women will start the trek in the small mountain town of Bomdila in India, and after crossing the Nepalese border, the route takes them over the Salpa and Lamajura Passes and on to the Thorag La, at 17,700 feet, the highest pass on the Annapurna circuit. From there, they will proceed across the Lamkhaga Pass, and eventually end at the Karakorum Pass, which is 18,172 feet high.
We’ll be updating readers on their progress, or if you want to follow these adventurers yourself, check out their Instagram account.