Muthamizh Selvi: First TN Woman to Summit Everest

N Muthamizh Selvi’s Triumph at the Summit of Everest

On May 23 at 12:20 a.m., the courageous N Muthamizh Selvi, a Japanese teacher from Tamil Nadu, achieved an incredible feat by being among the first to summit Mount Everest for the day. While summit ascents typically occur at three or four in the morning, Muthamizh Selvi had no choice but to begin her ascent during a seemingly impossible hour. She was running out of oxygen in her cylinder, and the biting cold winds were relentless. “I had to begin summiting and head back down soon to ensure I could return alive,” she explains.

As she pushed through the dark and extreme conditions, Muthamizh Selvi vividly remembers her co-mountaineer’s hysterical cries after her summit and return to Camp 4. Reflecting on her experience, she emphasized, “This is not a game. It is literally ‘do or die’. I had to power on. How else would I see my children?” Her awe-inspiring journey serves as a reminder that summiting the highest peak in the world demands more than just intent and fitness—it requires unwavering determination and resilience to return safely.

The Grueling 56-Day Journey to the Summit

Muthamizh Selvi provides insight into the meticulous process leading to the summit, explaining, “The climb is tedious and takes around 50 days because we must acclimate to the altitude by climbing to the four camps that lead to the summit and back. It is only the last climb that takes us to the top of Everest.” Additionally, she notes the necessity for trekkers to familiarize themselves with the ascent paths and master the use of ropes to navigate the mountain terrain.

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For Muthamizh Selvi, who was not accustomed to mountains in her daily life, the journey presented physical and mental challenges. Despite facing numerous obstacles, including a malfunctioning oxygen mask and severe altitude sickness, her determination stemmed from the promises she made to her family, the Sports Ministry in TN, and her sponsors. Even when advised against the climb at Camp 3 due to a sharp dip in her blood pressure, she persisted and ultimately received clearance from a doctor to proceed with her summit climb.

Triumph and Loss at the Summit

Muthamizh Selvi’s final ascent from Camp 4 to the peak, and her subsequent descent, evoked a sense of adventure reminiscent of historic exploration journeys. Battling heavy snow and unforgiving winds, she and her group made a crucial decision to brave the extreme conditions and begin the descent after spending more time than planned at Camp 4. Despite the formidable challenges, Muthamizh Selvi managed to spend 10 minutes at the peak before commencing her descent, with the assistance of a fellow trekker from Mexico.

However, amidst her triumph, Muthamizh Selvi was confronted with the loss of other summit aspirants along the way, leading her to reflect on the fragility of life at Everest. She shares, “It changes you. At Everest, you realize that life is only about survival.” Grateful to be alive, she has received recognition from Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. K. Stalin and is eager to convey the message of resilience and determination in achieving one’s goals.

Ultimately, Muthamizh Selvi’s extraordinary journey serves as a testament to the unwavering human spirit and the resolute mindset required to overcome the most formidable of challenges. “If you really want to, you can put your mind to it,” she asserts.

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