Home

   Firsts

   TimeLine

   Routes

Everest 1924-2004

   Introduction

   Dispatches 2004
  
Q&A

   Articles

   Clues

   Who's Who 1924

   Theories

   Books & More

   Sponsors

   Archive

   About us

Summits by Year

     1950's

     1960's

     1970's

     1980-85

     1986

     1987

     1988

     1989

     1990

     1991

     1992

     1993

     1994

     1995

     1996

EverestNews.com
   Today's News
   8000 Meters Facts
  
Banners Ads
   Bookstore
  
Contact
  
Educational
  
Expeditions
  
Games
  
Gear
  
History
  
Mailing List

   News (current)
   Speakers
   Readers Guide
   Risks
   Visitor Agreement

 

    
  

 

  




EverestHistory.com: Dicky Dolma


Dicky Dolma the youngest woman in the world to climb Mt Everest in 1993
Ruddy-cheeked girls with hair glinting like amber in the morning sunlight traipse past with milk cans or school satchels in Palchan village, a few miles above the tourist resort town of Manali in the mountainous state of Himachal Pradesh in India. Dicky Dolma, who at 19 was the youngest woman in the world to climb Mt Everest in 1993, also began life in a traditional wooden house with bales of hay sunning on the flagstones in the courtyard and vistas of snowy peaks, alpine meadows and the rushing white water of the Beas river.

"I once heaved a sack of grain half a kilometer uphill with a boy from the village. We took turns carrying it on our backs and by the end he was reduced to tears so I offered to do his share as well," recalls Dolma who has also been the national women's ski champion for over a decade.

Thoughts of skiing, much less mountaineering, never crossed her mind, she says, laughing in retrospect at how easily she might have missed becoming an outstanding sportswoman and a world record holder.

Dolma's world record as the youngest woman summiteer of Everest was set on May 10, 1993, when she reached the top of the world's highest mountain as a member of the Indo-Nepal Women's Everest Expedition.

The expedition, led by Bachendri Pal - herself a record holder as the first Indian woman to climb Mount Everest in 1984 - put seven women atop the summit. Dolma, then 19 years old, became the youngest woman summiteer ever while another member of the team, Santosh Yadav, set another world record as the first woman to climb Everest twice, having already summitted the year before.

Nine years on, Dolma's face still glows with satisfaction as she asks, on the anniversary of her climb, "Need I have any fear of my world record being broken in the near future?"

No, she does not. Like the record for the youngest man to summit Everest, set last year by 15-year-old Temba Tsheri of Nepal, even Dolma's record is unlikely to be broken. With an eye on safety, the Nepal government has decided this year to refuse climbing permits for Everest to anyone below 18 years of age. 

As for Dolma's record, she points out that few women mountaineers from the West come to the Himalaya at such a young age; and those from India or Nepal, for whom the Himalayan foothills are home, lack resources. In fact, Dolma has never managed to visit her Tibetan family's ancestral home in Lahaul-Spiti, in the upper reaches of Himachal Pradesh. This is a cold desert under 30 to 40 feet of snow in winter. So remote is the region that her relatives do not even know that she is a world record holder.

Dolma's success story could be the fantasy of every little girl. "It was in 1986 that I first began playing in the village with home-made skis -- shaved wooden planks with rough straps to slip on over shoes. Then I won a scholarship for the Basic Skiing Course but my family didn't like the idea of my missing school. It was after one of the senior skiing instructors at the skiing and mountaineering institute in Manali wrote a letter to my parents that they agreed. And then there was no looking back. I did all the courses and began participating in competitions," she says.

The Manali institute, formally known as the Directorate of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, has played a major role in Dolma's life. After she completed the Institute's skiing courses, she underwent the Basic Mountaineering Course in 1991. It was after this that the institute recommended her for the Pre-Everest Women's Expedition.

But, ironically, Dolma is also probably the only climber to have summitted Everest without completing an advanced course in mountaineering. "Ah, yes, I finally did that course in 1994," she laughs. Her association with her alma mater continues today: she is a skiing and mountaineering instructor at the institute.

Dolma's career as a sportswoman has enabled her to travel far from her mountain home. As a champion skier, she went to New Zealand for a contest in 1997 and to the Asian Winter Games in Korea in 1999. In India, she first won the Women's Slalom gold in the 1989 All-India Open Auli Ski Festival and has reigned supreme in her pet event -- the Giant Slalom, in the National Winter Games of 1991, 1996, 1998 and 2002. She was also the coach of the Indian team at the Junior Asian Games in Japan in 1995. Skiing also brought her a friend whom she eventually married in 1999. "My husband had come here to ski and we became friends. My in-laws are very encouraging and even come to watch me participate in skiing competitions," she smiles.

Her first love remains skiing, though, and she admits that she has, on occasion, opted to go for a skiing competition rather than a mountaineering expedition. "But I will definitely do some more climbing if I get the opportunity," she adds, when asked why she followed Everest (28,029 ft) with ascents of only minor peaks like Ladakhi (18,300 ft) and Hanuman Tibba (19,450 ft).

Yet, her happiest memories are of the three years from 1991 to 1993 when the women's team was whittled down through two Pre-Everest expeditions to the final team that went to Everest. She also speaks of her immense sense of loyalty to the leader, Bachendri Pal. "She awakened in us a desire to overcome all hurdles. We never felt the hardships and gained tremendous confidence. We learned to hold our own anywhere."

Dolma's achievements have had a ripple effect on the community, on whom she has had an immense impact. "There are women who don't travel alone from Manali to Kullu (a town two hours' drive away). Since we climbed Everest, the attitude of girls and their parents has been changing. Girls are now encouraged to venture out of the house and try to do things on their own."  (Yana Bey) 

Re-printed from CROW magazine with permission granted to EverestHistory.com/EverestNews.com. Yana Bey, an Indian journalist contributed to this article. www.crowmagazine.com/dicky.htm

 

 




   Ascenders

   Atlas snowshoes

   Black Diamond

   Brunton

   Carabiners

   Clearance

   CMI

   Crampons

   Edelweiss ropes
  
Featured

   Granite Gear

   Harnesses
   Headlamps
   Helmets

   Ice Axes

   Katadyn

   Kong

   Lekisport

   Nalgene

   New England Ropes

   Nikwax

   Omega

   Pelican

   Princeton Tec

   Primus

   Rope Bags
  
Sleeping Bags

   Stubai

   Suunto

   Tents

   and more here

 



  



Send email to     •   Copyright© 1998-2005 EverestNews.com
All rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Disclaimer, Privacy Policy, Visitor Agreement, Legal Notes: Read it