At age 13, most are in middle school, worried about acne and pop quizzes. Malavath Purna is climbing Mt. Everest.
That’s not an exaggeration or metaphor. Malavath Purna is literally climbing the world’s tallest mountain, from the more difficult approach at that. As reported by the GrindTV blog, Purna and a fellow teenager from the Indian village of Andra Pradesh – 17-year-old Sadanapali Anand – became among the youngest to reach the Mt. Everest summit. She is the youngest girl to ever reach the Mt. Everest peak. Both teens reached the summit while traveling from the Tibetan side of the mountain, which is considered much more difficult than the more popular Nepalese departure point.
Incredibly, Purna was eventually given the opportunity after outlasting an extremely competitive selection process which involved concentric rings of trials. First 600 top academic students from the Indian region were selected, then 108 of that group moved on to a training course which tested their suitability to make the climb. Twenty from the training camp were then put under intense observation to become the young Indians to take on Everest, and Purna and Anand were finally selected after acing climbs of lofty peaks at the Darjeeling Himalayan Mountaineering Institute.
Make no mistake: Purna’s story is not one of privilege masquerading as a Slumdog Milloinaire subplot. According to the Arab Times, her father works as a farm laborer and earns the equivalent of just $600 US per year. Her mother is also an hourly worker.
Purna and Anand’s climb began on April 4, with both clinging to the belief that success would bring their Indian region more recognition. There is little doubt they have done that, and Purna’s father is confident this is just the beginning for his daughter.
“We are happy that our girl has set the world record,” Purna’s parents said, according to The Times of India. “We know she will go places. She is not only bright in academics, but also in adventure.”