My Mount Everest summit is Real, photograph isn’t,says Nahida Manzoor

KSW Monitoring Desk

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Clearing air surrounding the controversy around her historical Mount Everest summit, the ‘first Kashmir women’ to climb World’s highest Peak Nahida Manzoor has issued a statement.

There is controversy surrounding about her claim of summiting Mount Everest with photographs provided by her for the certification being termed at ‘Morphed. The Kathmandu based –The Himalayan Times- even published story on Nahida and said that Department of Tourism Nepal have launched probe into the matter.

 Here is Nahida Manzoor’s full Statement posted on her Facebook Page

There have been talks and rumours on social media/other media platforms regarding my Everest Summit dated 22.05.2019 at 0930hours from the South Side. I was certified for the same by the Department of Tourism Nepal on 13.06.2019. As mentioned earlier my Everest Expedition was sponsored by J&K Tourism, J&K State Sports Council, DC Srinagar, TCI Max, Saffron Drinking Water, DIG CRPF.

As a child I always dreamt about climbing Mount Everest, the passion for mountains was deep rooted in my soul and mind every time I looked at the mountains. Now as a girl in Kashmir and in a society like ours where women have mostly been confined to the indoors; my family always supported me in every way they could. To dream such a feat is a big thing in itself; having such a conservative community around it was next to impossible to achieve what I did on May 22nd of 2019. A mountaineer is disciplined and patient with every step in their lives, we have very less to err with. In the heart of my father there would have been a moment when he would have thought what would the society think when they hear about the expedition I was about to take, but that didn’t stop my parents from supporting me. They pushed me towards it, on every step towards the summit I had them in my thoughts; about all the hardships they had gone through to make this dream come true for me. Then the mountain itself, it taught me a lot- the lack of oxygen, the being away from home, the land of strangers and that one unifying force that stood tall in-front of us. It all seemed surreal to me and I for one did not wanted this dream ever to end. Back home after my summit I was welcomed as a hero, I was all over social media with all the praises and appreciation for what I had achieved.

With my Sherpa Mr. Nima Kancha and myself ascending towards Hillary Step(8,790 metres) we realised the oxygen in our cylinders was less; the reason being the huge traffic jam on the mountain which resulted in consuming more oxygen than normal time frame. My Sherpa decided to halt at Hillary Step and let me advance towards the summit with the cylinder that had more oxygen. I proceeded towards the summit and at 0930hours I had summited the highest mountain in the world. Due to less amount of oxygen left in my cylinder and me being alone at the summit without my Sherpa I decided to quickly descend towards my Sherpa. I for a fact did not click any picture of myself at the summit and I do not personally know anyone who were taking pictures of me at the summit. When I reached the base camp this thing was running around my mind about not taking the picture myself but then its the altitude that does things to you and I did not wanted to take any risk whatsoever with my life at such an altitude. Taking all those considerations I think it was a good mountain decision on my behalf. With all the other participants that were there in my group had the same story of not having a picture at the summit. There was a tragedy that happened on the same day while ascending, one of our group member Mrs Anjali Kulkarni passed away on the mountain. Her husband Mr. Sharad Kulkarni who summited the same day and had the same reason of not taking the picture at the summit.

On 25th May I had reached Kathmandu and left for home on June 3rd 2019 and now was eagerly waiting for the summit certificate from the Department of Tourism Nepal. My adventure Tour Operator “Transcend Adventures” had planned the whole expedition and provided all the necessary logistics required for the summit. However, my Permit was issued by Snowy Horizons Treks & Adventures. I was in regular contact with my operator regarding the certificate but I was advised to wait for few days or weeks as my certificate was in due process for verification and other processes. Without a picture it was always going to delay the issuance of certificate, so I decided to fly back to Nepal and pursue it on my own. I reached Nepal on 12th June 2019 and from an unknown source a picture was sent to me which had me at the summit. I was elated and jubilant to have found the picture, there were pictures being taken at the summit. There were people who took my pictures as well but I did not know them personally. With this picture I knew I could push the process of certification a little faster so I went ahead with it to the office of Department of Tourism to avail the same. In sheer excitement I did not cross check the picture nor did I try to verify the source. There had been talks about me not having the picture which resulted in taunting and mass rants thrown at me, there are many who weren’t happy with the fact that I had summited the highest peak in the world. I am very lucky in this case, there are people who prepare for this summit for their whole lives and still don’t get a chance to do it. But here I was a nobody who got a golden chance to summit such a feat. It is my sheer ignorance that I didn’t check the picture that was sent to me which now has become a controversy in itself. I hereby want to put this on record that “I did summit Mount Everest on May 22nd 2019 on 0930hours and I didn’t have my sherpa along to take my picture and due to less oxygen in my cylinder I decided to retreat without taking a picture. I have my fellow participants who on record have stated to witness me summit Mount Everest (8,848m)”.

I have not faked my summit, I am a true mountaineer at my soul and would never lie about such a thing. I hope this clears the air for now and soon there will be a media report about the same.

Also I would like to apologies to the people of Kashmir and India who believed and trusted me. And a special thanks to my sponsors who supported me and made this dream possible.

Best Regards

Nahida Manzoor