200 Metres From Glory — Rita Gombu Marwah’s Story

In 1984, Bachendri Pal became the first Indian woman to conquer Mount Everest. Rita Gombu Marwah, from a renowned mountaineering family, was part of the same expedition. Despite coming close to the summit, Rita was stopped by harsh weather conditions just 200 meters away. While Bachendri’s success brought joy, Rita and her teammates were haunted by missed opportunities, highlighting the bittersweet nature of sporting achievements. Listen to Rita’s story in the first episode of Almost Perfect

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In 1984, Bachendri Pal became a household name when she conquered Mount Everest, becoming the first Indian woman to do so. Her success, however, cast a shadow over her teammates. Chandraprabha Aitwal, Rita Gombu, Rekha Sharma, Harshwanti Bisht, and Sharawati Prabhu also attempted the climb but fell short of the summit — and the ensuing stardom.

Rita Gombu Marwah hails from the first family of Indian mountaineering. Her great-uncle, Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, made history when he recorded the first documented ascent of Mount Everest along with Sir Edmund Hillary in May 1953. Rita’s father, Nawang Gombu Sherpa, was the first man to summit the world’s tallest peak twice. Driven by her heritage to love the mountains, Rita trained rigorously and was thrilled when she was named part of the 1984 expedition to Everest, a team of six Indian women and eleven men.

As a member of Bachendri’s team and a remarkable climber in her own right, Rita came agonisingly close to the summit before being thwarted by harsh weather conditions. Her attempt to reach the summit was cut short by only 200 meters. In this episode, we hear the story of that almost-perfect moment from Rita Gombu Marwah.

Despite their personal setback, Bachendri’s teammates celebrated her success, though the anguish of opportunity lost would haunt them all their lives, underscoring the bittersweet aftertaste of sporting achievements.


This show is produced by Confluence Media for Radio Azim Premji University.


Videos and audio files used used in this episode

Episode Intro:



YouTube: Himalayan Folk Music | Flute, Damfu & Tungna Relaxing Music:

YouTube: Silent Hiking The Himalayas for 16 days:


YouTube: Experience the world’s first ski descent of K2 with Andrzej Bargiel:

YouTube: Everest — The Summit Climb:

Envato Music:

Inspiring Positive Orchestra

Native Americans (by Ivan Luzan)

Inspiring Epic (by FlorewsMusic)

Cinematic Indian Background (by India_Happy)

Tragedy (by SilverHoof)

Last Day of the Earth (by Jackson_Frost)

Motivational Inspiring Commercial (by cleanmindsounds)

Thinking by Praded

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