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An expedition to great heights

Jun 19, 2013, DHNS : 22:04 IST

Calculated Risk

Challenging task: (From left) Jyoti Deshmukh, Kaustubh Sarwate, Priya Radhakrishnan, Christopher Manning,  Suchithra Acharya and Satyarup Siddhanta.
A team of 12 members, most of whom are from the City, are all set to scale Mount Elbrus, one of the highest mountains in Europe. They will set out on their journey on June 20.

What makes this team stand out is the fact that they are not professionals in mountaineering. The group consists of youngsters and middle-aged mountaineering enthusiasts.

Satyarup Siddhanta, who will lead the team, is a software engineer and has led many such expeditions in the past.

“Leading the team for this expedition is a difficult task as Mount Elbrus has many hidden death traps. The temperature might drop to minus 35 to 40 degrees and even lower in the night and if a team member suffers from acute mountain sickness, we might be in trouble.

The Arctic wind is extremely dangerous and if we experience bad weather, it might leave the team scattered. The mountain is filled with crevices and craters and bad weather might cause these craters to get camouflaged with the snow. If any team member loses his or her way and strays, there is no other option but to freeze to death.”

“We are taking a calculated risk and the stakes are very high. As I have led several teams in the past, I will try to keep the team together. If we are able to reach the summit, we will set many records. This will be the first team expedition from India to scale the heights of Elbrus. States like Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Karnataka will have record holders,” he explains.

The team is doing everything they can to build their stamina and willpower to be successful in this attempt.

Suchithra Acharya, one of the mountaineers, says that she climbs 150 steps everyday and also runs five kilometres to prepare for the expedition.

“I have climbed the Everest base camp in the past and have done a lot of trekking. I am preparing myself for the bad weather and taking a lot of warm clothes with me. Female mountaineers have to be careful about their health and sanitation. However, I have got accustomed to the rough terrain. My family has been very supportive and has never discouraged me from following my dream,” she says.

Neeraj Malve from the Bangalore Mountaineering Club says that the team will follow the basic rules and guidelines that mountaineering expeditions follow.

“‘Climb high and sleep low’ is the thumb rule while climbing high mountains. This will help the team in getting used to the weather and the altitude,” he sums up.

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