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
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