A young female mountaineer from Zewan, Srinagar is preparing for the challenging task of scaling the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest.
A 2nd-year student, Nahida Manzoor has made her name climbing high mountain peaks that too without any proper gear.
She is perhaps the first and only female adventurer from Kashmir to have scaled the 3966-meter high Mahadev in the snow.
Though climbers scale snowcapped mountains using snowshoes, Nahida had to do the job without them.
“I want to scale all the peaks in Kashmir and others outside the State but we don’t have proper facilities and gear to venture out on such adventures and be content with whatever little gear we have,” she told Rising Kashmir in an interview.
Nahida has been climbing small hills since her childhood days and does not shy away from joining boys in long treks.
During her Mahadev expedition, she was the lone girl to participate in a two-day trek from Dachigam National Park.
“I have no option but to go with the boys for hiking as girls mostly don’t trek and even if they do, they only go for a day’s trek,” says Nahida, who goes for longer treks.
She developed love for hiking while playing with friends from school in mountains ranges near her home.
Nahida comes from a middleclass family that supports her in pursuing mountaineering as a profession.
However, her dream of becoming a professional mountaineer is beset with hurdles as she cannot afford expensive hiking gear.
“Hiking is an expensive sport that needs proper hiking shoes, which I can’t afford,” she says.
Nahida has also excelled at other sports like Kho-Kho, Kabaddi, Volleyball, and rifle-shooting and won many awards.
Besides scaling mountains, she also avails the facility of the artificial climbing wall at Tourist Reception Centre at Nowgam, Srinagar thrice a week to practice climbing.
“I come to TRC Nowgam and climb the artificial wall,” says Nahida, who also participates in coaching camps organised at this wall.
One of her friends, Uzma Manzoor from Sonwar says she has always seen Nahida exhibiting keen interest in mountaineering.
“I know her for the past 15 years and we used to hike together in the nearby hills,” says Uzma, an independent filmmaker. “She showed more interest in venturing out to hills and is now scaling mountain peaks.”
Uzma hopes Nahida would make a mark in mountaineering.
To achieve her dream of scaling the Mount Everest, Nahida would undergo a two-month mountaineering expedition course.
She is the first girl from Kashmir to have been selected for this course by the National Cadets and Corps (NCC) Srinagar.
The expedition would be held at Uttrakhand where Nahida would scale 5975-meter high Swargarohini peak.
“The course will help me to prepare for climbing the Mount Everest,” she says.