Scaling the peaks of some of the highest mountains of the world is no child’s play! It comes with a great degree of determination, stamina and mental strength. It requires days of preparation and perseverance. Many Indians have scaled the peaks and treaded the summits with pride. Here’s a look at some of the best-known Mountaineers from India. (not necessarily in any order)
Mohan Singh Kohli:
Captain M.S. Kohli was an officer in the Indian Navy as a part of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police. He made a record that stayed put for 17 long years when he led a strong team of nine people to Mt. Everest. This was in the year 1965. Later on, in 1989, he became the President of Indian Mountaineer Foundation. He continued to serve there for four years. With such achievements, awards were bound to be in order. He was honoured with the Padma Bhushan, Most Distinguished Citizen of Delhi Award, IMF Gold Medal and Arjuna Award just to name a few.
A train burglary attempt in 2011 saw Arunima thrown off the train, left to bleed on the railway track. By the time she was rescued, the infection had spread. Her left leg had to be amputated and the right one supported with a metal rod. After hours and even days of traumatic heart-beats, she decided to turn the disability into a challenge and two years later, she did just that. She had become the first female amputee to scale Mt. Everest. Arunima hails from Ambedkarnagar, Uttar Pradesh. Having climbed four of the highest peaks till date, she plans to scale those of the remaining continents too.
The famous Indian mountaineer Balwant Sandhu was one of the most experienced mountaineers of his time. Lt. Col. Balwant Sandhu climbed the Changabang Peak with his teammate Sir Chris Bonington in 1974. He was the deputy leader of the Indo-French Nanda Devi traverse expedition in 1975. He was a man of great valour and strength. Despite his encounters with an avalanche, a broken leg, malaria and more, he never gave up. He died when he was struck by a speeding car close to the Indian Mountaineering Foundation building in Delhi.
Malli Mastan Babu:
Hailing from the Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh, he was, in fact, the first South Asian to scale all the highest peaks across continents within a small span of 172 days in 2006. He worked towards spreading awareness on global warming and the damage being done in the bargain. He treaded the 75-day high altitude trek from Mt. Everest to Kanchenjunga for the same. Sadly, he went missing after scaling the Tres Cruces Cur Summit. His body was recovered in the Andes Mountain in 2015 after being struck by a bad storm. Not only did he inspire students from his town, he made the nation proud. He used to conduct classes on yoga, meditation, hiking and high altitude trekking as well.
She scaled Mt. Everest at the tender age of 19 in the year 2009. Having done this in here teens, it made her the youngest Indian woman to climb Mt. Everest at that point in time. Born in Pune, she had the drive to help her achieve her dream. She went on to climb the highest peak of Antarctica as well, namely Mount Vinson Massif. Coming from a family of adventure sports, she has many (not just one) feathers in her cap. She has conquered the Kilimanjaro in Africa, the Elbrus in Europe, Aconcagua in South America to name a few. Her mission is to scale the summits of every continent.
Colonel Narendra Kumar is fondly referred to as the Bull. The Indian soldier is a dedicated mountaineer. His claim to fame includes the expedition in the year 1978 all the way to the Siachen Glacier, the Teram Kangri and Saltoro Range. At 45 years of age, he carried out the expedition for the glorious Indian Army. Some of the other mountain ranges that he has crossed include those in Ladakh, Agil, Zanskar, Karakoram as well as Pir Pinjal Range.
Now, who hasn’t heard of the first Indian woman to climb Mt. Everest? She scaled the summit in the year 1984 despite the avalanche that struck the team at the time of ascending and has been a well-known name ever since. She hails from the Nakuri village of Uttarakhand and is also known for attending the First Indian Women Trans-Himalayan Expedition with a group comprising of eight women from Arunachal Pradesh to Siachen Glacier. This involved a record-breaking crossing of over 40 mountain passes and 4,500 kilometres in a span of 225 days.
There is so much to learn from the stories of these great men and women who have displayed immense dedication in scaling the difficult peaks of the highest mountains of the world. Kudos to their courage and salute to their strength.