Priyanka Mohite - What's Next?
“The avuncular my Uncle and I share is the main reason behind my love for mountains. Weekend tours of the Ajinkyatara Fort with family are my fondest childhood memories. Watching my alacrity for the hills, he suggested that I join a professional mountaineering group and that’s how my mountaineering career got engendered. At 20, I became the 3rd youngest Indian to climb Everest! Witnessing the world from the highest peak was indeed surreal. But, the question ‘what next?’ kept pondering me.
So, in 2018 – 2019, I set out on a new adventure of climbing the 4th & 5th highest peaks of the world. Unlike the last time, it didn’t go as I planned. While scaling The Lhotse we were grounded by a major earthquake. Luckily a big avalanche covering the base camp saved us. However, the fear kept haunting me for the next couple of months. I couldn’t get myself to do what I loved the most & it was heartbreaking.
But after 3 months I finally gave in & became the first Indian Woman to climb Mt. Makalu. Yet again, I was delighted but not at peace. Because the question ‘What Next?’ popped up and this time my heart said Kanchenjunga.
I’d wake up every morning to the sound of my alarm going ‘Mission 8586 meters’ – the altitude of Kanchenjunga. But, then the lockdown happened. Due to gym restrictions, I lost my core strength. So, when the unlock began, I immediately rushed to the gym. Gradually, I started regaining my physical strength & after months of waiting, things started to align. I was ready for Kanchenjunga, but guess what? Kanchenjunga wasn’t ready for me.
Kanchenjunga is more of a team effort. & not many mountaineers were ready right after the unlock. I couldn’t resist. So, I decided to climb Mt. Annapurna instead. It is the 10th tallest peak in the world & said to be the deadliest of all due to its adverse climate effects. It was one of the hardest climbs & terrains I ever witnessed.
Indeed, it was all worth it. Not only because I became the first Indian woman to Scale Mt. Annapurna! But, beholding this title, the challenges & experiences that came along, I’m sure Kanchenjunga is certain to welcome me this time!”