Bhopal: MP youth set to hoist Indian flag on Kilimanjaro

Being from a family that earns paltry Rs 6k a month, becoming a mountaineer had never been easy for Ankit Kumar, yet the path he has tread makes him different from others.

Minal TomarUpdated: Thursday, December 29, 2022, 10:42 PM IST
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Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): A 23-year-old man from Jabalpur is set to scale the snow-clad 19,340-feet Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa. It is the highest peak in that continent. A mountaineer has to face, besides biting cold, many other odds, but, for Ankit, it’s something that he loves to do. He wishes to reach the peak on Republic Day to host the Indian flag there.

Ankit, who belongs to a poor family, had to face a lot of hassles to become a mountaineer. Called the Mountain Man in Madhya Pradesh because of his love of peaks, but to reach the pinnacle, he had to knock on several doors for financial support.

Being from a family that earns paltry Rs 6k a month, becoming a mountaineer had never been easy for Ankit Kumar, yet the path he has tread makes him different from others. In an interview with Free Press on Wednesday, the Mountain Man spoke about the challenges he has come across, when he came to Bhopal for yellow fever vaccination.

FP: How did your journey start?

AK: I am grateful to the NCC for guiding and selecting me for mountaineering. I belong to a village near Jabalpur, and my father works as a daily-wage worker, but he always wanted something better for me. Hence, we shifted to Jabalpur, and then suddenly my life changed when I got to do a mountaineering course because of NCC.

FP: It’ll be your first international peak, how are you feeling?

AK: I'm feeling good, but before this, I climbed a peak near the Indo-Nepal border, which I'd consider an international peak as well. But Mount Kilimanjaro is a big deal, especially for someone like me who comes from a small town.

FP: What financial hurdles did you have to climb to reach here?

AK: I had to knock on many doors for sponsorships, and most of the time I went back empty-handed. But I am thankful to Mayor Jagat Bahadur Singh 'Annu' for always helping me financially.

FP: What is your next summit?

AK: I am willing to scale Mount Everest in 2023; currently, I am looking for sponsors. It is not confirmed yet, but I am working on it.

Giving free training to 40 teens in Jabalpur

Mountaineer Ankit Kumar told Free Press that he is training approximately 40 teenagers in Jabalpur for basic trekking and mountaineering for free.

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