NEW DELHI (AP) — The 13-year-old daughter of poor Indian farmers who became the youngest girl to climb Mount Everest said Wednesday that she "shed joyful tears" at the summit after a grueling climb across difficult terrain and personal fear.
Nepal requires climbers to be at least 16 years old to scale its peaks, but Malavath Poorna said she and a team of Nepalese guides climbed the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) mountain on May 25 from the northern side in Tibet. There are no age restrictions in China.
"It was very difficult. Every step is a dangerous step," a smiling Poorna told reporters in New Delhi, describing steep slopes, exposed rocks, deep crevasses and extreme cold that went below minus 40 degrees Celsius (minus 40 Fahrenheit).
At 3,300 meters (10,830 feet), she said she saw "six dead bodies. I was shocked. Oh my god I got some fear."
But she remembered her training and regained her confidence.
"When I reached the top of Everest, very good experience. I feel great and proud, and I shed joyful tears" as she looked around and saw "mighty mountains and morning sunlight," she said in English, waving her hands expressively as she spoke.