Meet India’s First Father-Daughter Duo to Conquer Mt Everest Together

By Atiya Riffat

Just as the sun was rising in the eastern hemisphere, Deeya Bajaj was taking her final steps towards the highest point on earth, and her father, Ajeet Bajaj, was right behind her. On Wednesday, 16 May 2018, the father-daughter duo saw the rising sun from a place where only a small fraction of us will ever set foot—Mount Everest.

Twenty-year-old Deeya summitted at 4.30 am on Wednesday, and her father followed 15 minutes later.They were accompanied by a Sherpa, Sardar Mina Niru. Throughout the journey, right from the base camp, Deeya maintained a live blog of their adventure, giving details about weather, the scenery and their location.

A proud wife and mother, Shirly Bajaj, said “It was my daughter’s dream to reach the summit, and her father wanted to be a part of that journey with her. Ajeet has always been proud of his daughter and finds the perspective people have about the girl child in India difficult to digest. So, another purpose of this expedition was to call attention to the fact that with the right opportunities, any girl can reach the highest summits.”

“They were obviously excited and elated. Deeya said they watched the sunrise from the top of the world, and that it was a beautiful experience. For Ajeet, the achievement was all the more special because this time, he was with his daughter,” Shirly added.

After unfurling the Tricolour at top of the Everest, the two mountaineers began their descent and have reached North col (23,030 feet) via camp 3 (27,390 feet).

Ajeet has been into adventure sports for over three decades now. He was the first Indian to ski to the North Pole, the South Pole and across the Greenland Ice Cap—completing the ‘Polar Trilogy’. Ajeet was awarded the Padma Shri in 2012 for his active contribution to the field of adventure in India.

Daughter Deeya isn’t far behind. Having trained at the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM) in Uttarkashi, she undertook the 20-day-long Trans Greenland Skiing Expedition at the age of 17, and in 2012, went on to climb Mt Elbrus (5642 m), the highest mountain in Europe.

The adrenaline junkies have indeed made their mark in the adventure field. Together, it seems that nothing is impossible for the duo—neither the extreme northern or southern points of the planet, nor the highest point on earth.