Indian twin ‘Everesteer-sisters’ attempt to become the world’s first to step on the icy crown of North America
No twin sisters in the world have dared to dream what Tashi & Nungshi are on the verge of achieving!
Aiming to draw attention to the alarming phenomenon of female feticide and infanticide in India, especially in much of the rural North, the pair of ‘wonder twins’, 22 years old sisters Tashi & Nungshi malik have set their sights on Mt Mckinley in Alaska. Towering at 20,320 ft, Mckinley (more popularly known as Denali) is a serious mountaineering challenge for any climber. It is a huge snowy mass, flanked by five giant glaciers and countless icefalls. Due to its sudden altitude gain (which is more than Everest), Mckinley dominates the horizon from as far as 200 miles away. Not only is it prone to earthquakes, the combination of high altitude and extreme latitude also means altitude sickness kicks in much faster. Though many records have been set on this ‘big’ mountain, in over 100 years since the first successful ascent in 1913, no twin sisters have ever stepped together on its summit.
The young twins are no strangers to extreme altitude climbing. Currently on #mission2for7 to scale the highest peaks in all seven continents, they have already scaled the Mt Everest highest peaks of South America, Europe, Australasia and Africa, each one a ‘world’s first’! They have also scaled an unclimbed, un-named peak at 21000 ft ‘alpine style’ in Indian Himalayas last fall.
Beaming with enthusiasm, the twins describe their two fold vision for aiming the highest peaks in all continents, “to promote mountaineering as a sport, especially in India and to encourage the girl child to dream and achieve”.
Being girls themselves, with roots in one of the most conservative rural areas of Northern India, with one of the worst sex ratios and epidemic levels of gender violence, Tashi and Nungshi admit that they deeply feel the pain of exclusion and suffering of the girl child. “Many parents in our areas still consider boys as the only off springs” they lament.
The girl child is caught in a vicious cycle of feticide & infanticide, denial-exclusion-malnutrition-lack of education-domestic work and eventual economic dependence on the male. “Right from her birth (that is, if at all she’s fortunate to be born!), our girl child has numerous ‘Mountains to climb’ to merely survive. And even more, to realize her potential and full human rights.
Expressing their resolve, the brave twins declare “We stand solidly with the girl child and pledge to use all our resources to help her earn her rightful and equal place in the society. Let the world realize that ‘Girl child is a human being first always and every time”!
Known as the 'big mountain' Mt McKinley has steeper gradient than Everest and is the most challenging peak to climb in the ‘Seven Summit’ circuit after Mt Everest
Taking to a sport that demands extreme physical and mental capabilities and very high degree of risks, TNT (am acronym for Twins Tashi & Nungshi, which is universally used as abbreviation for Trinitrotoluene, an extremely powerful explosive used especially by the world militaries) want to show that girls can compete on equal footing with men even in areas traditionally seen as ‘men’s forte’.
“And by this, we want to shatter some of the stereotypes about girls” quips Tashi.
“By our achievements and the consequent media interest, we want to send the message of gender equality and the fight against female feticide” re-iterates Nungshi. Striking a more reflective tone, they sum up their deeper understanding of the importance of their mission, “India cannot realize its full potential as long as its girls and women cannot realize theirs!”
TashiNungshi will start their expedition on 16 May and hope to reach the summit by the end of May, keeping another week as a reserve for contingencies. By stepping on top of Mt McKinley, the wonder twins hope to bring joy to millions of fellow Indians, especially to the girls and women.
The twins are in need of urgent funds to schedule their last and penultimate peak in Antarctica in the month of November. For queries on how to support their #mission2for7, please contact at 9410729434, or email at [email protected] or visit www.nungshitashi.com