Mumbai: Of the four Indian mountaineers who hoisted the Tricolour at the highest point of the earth last week, two are Mumbaikars.
Yashi Jain (25), Mithil Raju (17), Sunil Kumar (32) and Pankhi Haris Chhed (32) reached the 8,848.86 metre-high Mount Everest on May 17, according to Rishi Bhandari, managing director of Satori Adventure, which organised the expedition.
Aaashi Jain from Chhattisgarh scaled Lhotse over 26 hours after her ascent to Mt Everest | FPJ
Mithil took the Class XII exams in March
Importantly, Mithil Raju, who took the Class XII exams in March this year, is from Chembur. At 17 years 8 months and 15 days, Mithil is the youngest Mumbaikar who conquered the Everest. Pankhi Haris Chhed, an IIT MTech and is into construction business, is from Borivali. Sunil from Karnal, Haryana, and Yashi from Raigarh in Chhattisgarh, also climbed Lhotse, the fourth-highest peak on May 18, Bhandari said. Sunil scaled Lhotse in 23 hours of climbing the mighty Everest. And, Yashi climbed Lhotse after over 26 hours of summitting the Everest and became the first woman to achieve this feat at age 24 years, 10 months and 7 days. Keval Kakka is another mountaineer from Mumbai, but he could not reach the top of the highest peak due to some injuries. So, he decided to rest at Camp IV.
“Pankhi has been hospitalised and undergoing treatment for frost bites,” Mithil said.Mithil too had plans to do Lhotse. Talking over the phone from Kathmandu in Nepal, he said: “I decided against doing the third highest peak, as I too had frost bites. Had I done Lhotse, I would have entered the Guinness Book of World Records.”Mithis reached the top of the world on Wednesday morning (May 17). On becoming the youngest Everester of Mumbai, Mithil said: “It was a dream that just came true. I am waiting for my frost bites to get healed. I have plans to do some easier peaks now, maybe Mt Makalu — the fifth highest — and Mt Manaslu —the eighth highest peak of the world.”
Mithil went to St Gregorios High School in Chembur and Somaiya College in Ghatkopar, but doing his Class XII privately. Surprisingly, he is a graphic designer and an animation artiste, as his mother is a hand artiste. About his preparation for the climb, he said: “I have been doing trekking, camping and hiking from age 7. I did Chandrashila Pass, a snow trek in Uttarakhand, in 2018. I did nine snow treks, Sahyadris, and a 6,000er, Mt Kang Yatse, in Ladakh in 2021. Then I did the Everest Base Camp trek in 2022.”
"It was during the Kang Yatse climb I learned the dos and don’ts of the slopes and equipment from my maternal uncle, Keval, a professional mountaineer. I am a born sportsperson, love cycling, run marathons and am into calisthenics. I play football and volleyball. I did staircase climbing for months and endurance running for six months.”About the funds, the young Everester said: “My dad financed the expedition. I had tried to crowdfund it, but the plans did not fructify.” About how she felt trekking on the roof the world on Wednesday morning (May 17), Yaashi said: “It was great, very tiring and difficult as I did the Everest and Lhotse in a little over a day.”
Yaashi took Basic Mountaineering Course from Himalayan Mountaineering Institute in 2016
Yaashi did his Basic Mountaineering Course from Himalayan Mountaineering Institute in 2016 and Advanced Mountaineering Course in 2017. She has done Aconcagua (6,961m) in Argentina, M Kilimanjaro in Tanzania (5,895m) and Mt Elbrus (5,642m) in Russia. About her future plans, she told the FPJ: “I want to do Seven Summits. Everest, Aconcagua, Kilimanjaro and Elbrus are done. Will soon do Denali, Vinson and Wilhelm.”Like others, she had a role model. Over the phone, Yaashi said: “Arunima Sinha inspired me to climb the Everest. Sinha is an amputee and has done seven highest peaks. When I was in Class XII, I read blogs and came to know of the field that there is something called mountaineering. Then I thought of giving the basic course a shot. My father is very supportive. He helped me fulfill my dreams.” She added: “I want to open an adventure school in Raigarh and encourage people, especially the girls.
They don’t have the knowledge about adventure sports. Also, women are not acknowledged and they don’t get the recognition they deserve.”In a message to the youth, she said: “We should find our own Everest. Our first step towards the journey begins with the first step we take and achieve it.”About the finances, the youngest Indian woman who achieved the feat of doing Everest and Lhotse in over 26 hours, said: “It’s 50-50. 50 per cent is crowdfunded and the rest is arranged by my father, a bank manager in Raigarh.”
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