Popularly known as the ‘Everest twins’, Tashi and Nungshi Malik dedicate their adventures to empowering and encouraging Indian girls. These incredible sisters hold six Guinness World Records including the first female twins to scale Everest, first female twins and siblings to scale the Seven Summits and youngest persons to complete the Explorers Grand Slam.
Tashi and Nungshi came on the Tough Girl podcast to talk about their grand adventures and the mission behind everything they do. They are an inspiring example of what you can accomplish when you commit to your dreams wholeheartedly.
Believe in Your Capacity
From a young age, Tashi and Nungshi made it a point to do things people told them they couldn’t do. Growing up as girls in India, they faced numerous obstacles and were given far fewer opportunities than the opposite sex. People would ask their parents why they didn’t try for a son after having the twin girls.
But Tashi and Nungshi knew that girls have more capacity. They shared a saying that if you educate a boy, you educate him. But if you educate a girl, you’re not only educating her but her family and society in general.
These daring girls never had a desire to fit in. Instead, they had the drive to be the best versions of themselves no matter what other people said.
Find a Spiritual Side
Because their father believed in holistic living and well-rounded development, Tashi and Nungshi were encouraged to expose themselves to a dangerous situation. While this may sound strange for a parent to encourage, their father knew this was the key to gaining self-awareness and developing important attributes.
At 18 years old, the twins embarked on their first mountaineering experience and immediately knew they had found their passion.
Tashi noted, “The mountain makes you humble. Mountains adopt us when we are right at their foothills.” Climbing may seem physical, but the twins both note an important spiritual side to all of their climbs. For them, the mountains are an environment where they can reflect on who they are as a person and find meaning in life.
Commit to the Call
While their father encouraged their first mountaineering experience, he was shocked when their passion grew and they decided to climb Everest. The twins describe this decision as a calling from the mountain. It clicked that this was something they could do together. They knew they each had a companion they could trust their life with. Climbing together became a wonderful gift.
For many, a dream stays a dream. Tashi and Nungshi revealed that commitment is what makes the difference. These two were driven by a dream that wouldn’t let them sleep. The pair knew they had to commit and follow their dream.
This was difficult because India is not an outdoor nation. Committing to something unconventional and breaking the boundaries physically and financially was a challenge the two decided to take on together.
Take on Your Fears
It was four years before the twins made it to Everest. From mental obstacles to financial obstacles, it wasn’t easy. Thankfully, the twins had the support of their parents.
“Overcoming fear is the biggest mountain we all have to climb,” Tashi said. “The bigger the dream, the bigger mountain of fear.” At 21 years old, Tashi and Nungshi became the first female twins to scale Mount Everest.
Their accomplishment didn’t come without preparation. The adventurous twins were already part of a mountaineering institute and took on customized training with aerobics, strength, endurance, and weight gain elements for Everest. Ensuring proper conditioning and taking to the outdoors almost every day gave Tashi and Nungshi the self-confidence to reach the heights of Everest.
Soon after Everest, the twins had an incredible amount of women talking to them, wanting to take on similar challenges. That was the boost they needed to do something more and help these women follow their dreams.
Then came Tashi and Nungshi’s next mission - to climb the seven peaks. They wanted to prove that if given a chance, girls can accomplish the seemingly impossible. Their motto became ‘Beyond Heights to the Ends of the World’.
At the top of each mountain they summited, the Everest Twins would strike a steel plate with a spoon. This tradition comes from India and was often used to celebrate the birth of a male child. Tashi and Nungshi decided to make the tradition their own in honour of all the girls denied opportunities.
Create a New Future
It was the twins’ ultimate pride to become the world’s youngest persons to complete Explorers Grand Slam at 23 years old. They were thrilled to have even beaten boys at this challenging sport. “When I play any sport, it gives me confidence,” Tashi related. “Just believe in your capacity and what you can achieve.”
For Nungshi extreme sport has led her to live mindfully. She sees more and more that everything she does has an impact on all. “The air you breathe out is the air I breathe in,” she likes to say.
With all their passion for the outdoors, the Everest Twins created the Nungshi Tashi Foundation to empower girls to pursue sports and adventure livelihoods. This involves their Outdoor Leadership School where they teach vocational