The woman who conquered the Mountains
” Every mountain top is within reach if you just keep climbing. ” – Barry Finlay.
A 2002 batch Indian Police Source officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre, APARNA KUMAR became 1st woman IPS officer (male or female) to complete the South Pole Expedition on January 13, 2019, where she unfurled the National and ITBP flags. Carrying an equipment weighing 35 kilos along with her, she reached the South Pole after covering 111 km of walking on snow.
This not being her first ever expedition, she has conquered successfully, the lady from Bengaluru who is a mother of two, who never saw snow before coming for Foundation course at Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy of administration in Mussorie in 2002, has been constantly achieving success in climbing these heights which no other person in Indian history has ever done before.
The fascination and curiosity towards the various mountaineering equipment, tent and gear triggered her to apply to do the one month basic mountaineering course at ABV Institute of Mountaineering & Allied Sports, Manali, Himachal Pradesh, starting from October 2013. She started her major expeditions with her first attempt to climb Mt. Everest in April-May 2014, but couldn’t due to major avalanche disaster. She successfully climbed Lobuche East peak after that, enduring -35 degree and rare Oxygen, then proceeded to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in African Continent. She constantly honed her rock climbing skills and never halted her training.
On 7 November 2014, she scaled Carstensz Pyramid, highest peak in Australia and Oceania region. It is considered an extremely challenging climb, as it required high degree stamina and technical climbing skills. The vertical and jaggered rocky climb was extremely difficult but she achieved the feat. After a fortnight’s rest, she began her preparation for Mt. Aconcagua in Argentina, the highest peak outside the continent of Asia. With a special 15 day training, on 14 January 2015, she successfully submitted Mt Aconcagua. She again started her trek for Mt Everest, but due to high intensity earthquake in Nepal, the mission had to be called off. But not letting this disappointment deter her from her goals, she started her training for the highest peak of European continent. On 4 August 2016, along with 10 other climbers, she reached Mt Elbrus’s peak. After this huge success and realizing how happy she felt, she decided to conquer the expeditions of Antarctica, Asia and North America.
She started for the Antarctica Expedition on 5 January 2016 from Delhi. At Mount Vinson Massif her skills in snow craft and pulling her 30 kg sledge on ice were put to test with temperature dropping to -40 degrees at times. Surviving in the icy winds above 100 km per hour took toll on her, as he lost more than 5 kg of weight and had a mild frostbite.
The expedition to conquer the Everest began on 9 April 2016, took more than 45 days of low temperatures up to -45 degree and high speed chilly winds up to 150 km before she could reach the top. She lost almost 13.5 kg during the entire expedition, had extreme sun burn injury and even had marginal frost bites and extreme chest congestion. After unfurling the Indian and UP Police flags, she began the extremely strenuous climb down. ” The climb was tough but the view from the top is worth it.” – Aparna Kumar after scaling Mt Everest.
” Her focused approach, hard work, sacrifice and consistent commitment has paid of”, says her mother who has always encouraged her and has been a great help in looking after the kids when Aparna is out of her expeditions. Aparna has now completed 6 out of 7 summits she had decided for herself. Regardless of the age threshold, her passion, determination and hard work always has, and will inspire people to follow what they truly believe in. She is an inspiration for many mothers and women proving that age is no bar to achieve daunting and arduous targets, if one is willing to work an extra yard. The Quest of the Mountain lady to conquer her dreams of Seven Summit is in the final leg, and there is no doubt that she shall come out with flying colors. Hats off to the Iron grit lady.