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Ducking death on Mt Everest

Nishat Majumder on top of the world. She is the third Bangladeshi to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Photo: Courtesy

Publication Date : 23-05-2012


As she was pursuing to reach the summit of Mount Everest, Nishat Majumder was close to losing her life several times.

"Once I was swept around 30 metres away from my tracks and almost into a crevasse,” the 31-year-old accountant said while describing her brush with death during her fantastic adventure.

The first Bangladeshi woman to scale Mount Everest, Nishat was speaking to The Daily Star over the telephone yesterday after returning safely to the base camp with her fellow mountaineer M.A. Muhit.

“It was a treacherous trek with the possibility of losing one's life at any moment. It was more dangerous than what I had imagined it would be,”  said.

Nishat and Muhit reached the south base camp, 5,350 metres above sea level, at noon Bangladesh time yesterday. At the same time, a second Bangladeshi woman Wasfia Nazreen was already climbing towards the summit having left from the base camp in the early hours of Monday.

Wasfia expects to reach the summit sometime Friday morning, according to her last facebook update on Sunday.

Nishat and Muhit both expect to be back in Dhaka by June 1 or 2.

While talking to The Daily Star, Muhit, the first Bangladeshi to scale Mount Everest twice, said: "I have climbed several mountains before but this one was by far the most dangerous climb."

Both mountaineers described their ordeal as they narrowly escaped death several times during the journey.

"Despite all the hardship, I was never tempted to return without reaching the top. I was afraid but I was determined to reach the peak," Nishat said.

She described one of her worst moments being on April 27 when they were on their way from camp 1 to camp 2. She was swept nearly 30 metres away from her track by a snowstorm.

"I had just crossed a crevasse using a ladder. A strong snowstorm hit us without warning, giving us no chance to take safety measures. I just rolled away from my track," she said.

"I protected myself by holding on to the ice sheets with all my might. If the storm had pushed me by just two or three metres more, I might have fallen into the crevasse.”

Nishat also mentioned that she saw blood during her way up, which likely were of other climbers or Sherpas on a similar expedition.

Nishat said they stayed on the summit for nearly one hour.

“The surroundings looked foggy with all the snow around. We took some pictures and then started our descent."

When asked how she was doing physically, Nishat said she was well but feeling weak. “I need rest," she said.

She expressed her gratitude to her parents, well-wishers and the people of the country who prayed for her.

"We begin our final descent on Tuesday or Friday next and hope to reach Kathmandu the Sunday or Monday after that. We will receive our certification of having climbed the peak from Nepal's Ministry of Tourism there," Nishat said.

“After completing those formalities, we will start for Dhaka."

Meanwhile, Nishat's mother Ashura Majumder, while talking to The Daily Star yesterday evening, urged everyone to pray that her daughter returns home safe and sound.

Enam Ul Haque, president of Bangla Mountaineering and Trekking Club (BMTC), said Nishat and Muhit's feat has earned accolades for the nation.

BMTC organised the expedition with co-sponsorship from Plan Bangladesh, a non-government organisation (NGO), under their campaign “Because I Am a Girl”.

Dhaka Wasa, Nishat's employer, meanwhile is all set to accord a reception to its favourite girl.

"We will hold a reception for her when she returns though we have not finalised any date yet," Dhaka Wasa Managing Director Taqsem A Khan said last night.

Thirty-one-year-old Nishat from Laxmipur scaled Mount Everest on May 19, the first Bangladeshi woman to do so.

Musa Ibrahim was the first Bangladeshi to conquer Everest on May 23, 2010. Muhit scaled the same in May the following year.


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