Bachendri Pal was born into a family of very moderate means, in 1954, in a village named Nakuri in Garhwal. Her father, Kishan Singh Pal, was a small trader who used to carry provisions like wheat flour and rice from India to Tibet on mules and goats. Eventually he settled in Uttarkashi, where he married; the couple had five children, Bachendri being the middle one. Bachendri was an active child, and did well in her school; she excelled in sports too, and at the same time was singled out in school for punishments for a variety of petty misconducts. Her first exposure to mountaineering was at the age of 12, when during a picnic she along with several schoolmates climbed a 13,123 feet high peak. They could not climb down as it had already become dark and had to spend the night at the peak without any food or cover. The experience remained ingrained in her memory, heightening her love for adventure and the mountains. Despite many constraints, she continued her schooling and completed it successfully. On being persuaded by the principal of her school, her parents sent her to college. She completed her graduation, becoming the first girl of her village to do so. While doing her graduation, she also secured the first position in a rifle shooting event, beating other boys and girls. She also completed university courses leading to securing an MA and a Bachelor's degree in education. Her family was facing financial troubles and she wanted a job desperately. However, the offers coming to her were not of her choice. She shared with her parents her desire to become a professional mountaineer. The family was “devastated,” as for them, her relatives and local people, the most suitable job for a woman was teaching, not mountaineering. However, Bachendri did not budge from her determination. She joined the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM). She was declared the best student and was considered as “Everest material”. In 1982, while at NIM, she climbed Gangotri I (21,900 ft) and Rudugaria (19,091 ft). Around that time, she got employment as an instructor at the National Adventure Foundation, which had set up an adventure school to train women to learn mountaineering.
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