'Everybody has a mountain to conquer'

'Everybody has a mountain to conquer'

A t the age of 16, Arjun Vajpai became the youngest Indian to conquer the mighty Mount Everest. Later, he became the youngest ever to ascent Mt Lhotse, the fo­u­rth highest peak in the world.

Fascinated with mountaineering since childhood, Arjun, now 19, also was the youngest to reach Mt Manaslu, the eighth highest mountain in the world.

Unlike other sports, there is no live coverage when it co­m­es to one of the toughest spo­r­ts of all – mountaineering. Its one sport where the player and mountain remain in a constant face-off, until one conquers the other.

Arjun, on his part aspires to be in the list of limited people who have conquered all the 14 highest peaks in the world. 

The young mountaineer who was recently awarded the Young Indian Leader Award by IBN network, shared his experiences and ambition about his passion, mountaineering with Metrolife.

“It feels great to become the first for so many achieveme­nts. By follo­w­ing my passion I also showed the world what an Indian youth is capable of.” A student at Institute for Integrated Learning in Management (IILM), Lodhi Road, Arjun began his journey by cli­m­bing hillocks in and around Pune and culminated it at Mo­u­­nt Everest. He had realised his inclination towards this tough sport by the age of 10.

“I had gone to my grandmother’s place in Pune. There I climbed a small hill in aro­u­nd 30 minutes. I realised I could take it up professionally. My parents initially were not amused but seeing my hard work they turned very suppo­r­t­ive,” he recalls.

Having made up his mind, Arjun underwent two years of basic training at Nehru Institute of Mountaineering in Uttarkashi. Of the three peaks he has scaled so far, Everest was the most challenging to conquer.

“Climbing the Everest will always remain special. It was a big challenge mentally and physically. In mountaineering, physical fitness does matter but there comes a time when your body gives up. That is when mental fitness steps in,” he says.

He believes that India does offer quality infrastructure, facilities and environment to take up mountaineering as a full time sport.

“We have about 300 mountains of 6,000-7,000 ft. India has one of the best mountai­n­eering institutes in Asia. As a sport, it has a lot of scope.”

Having achieved a lot at such a young age when most of the children are not sure about what do they want to in life, Arjun says, mountains or not, what is important is to have a dream.

“What matters is your dream. Everybody has a mountain to conquer. However that may not be a physical mountain. The earlier you realise this, the better it is. Dream big and chase it,” he sends out his message to youth. On his part, he is yet again readying to chase another big dream!

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