'On top of the world'

'On top of the world'

Young Achiever

'On top of the world'

Age is just a number for Raghav Joneja who has created a record to become the youngest Indian climber to have scaled the Mount Everest at just 15.

Raghav from Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh became the youngest Indian to do so along with five schoolmates. A student of Lawrence School, Sanawar, Raghav achieved the remarkable feat on May 21 after embarking on an arduous 56 day-long journey.

By doing so, Raghav broke the record set by Manipur’s Nameirakpam Chingkheinganba, who had scaled the peak at 16 years, seven months and 11 days, as recently as last month, surpassing Arjun Vajpai’s feat by a week.

Talking to Metrolife, Raghav shared insights about his adventurous trip!
How did it all begin? “Col. Neeraj Rana, ex-director of Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) came to our school for training. He gave us presentations, trainings and encouraged us to go for it.

“Prior to this, we had also done a 1000 kms of cycling in Rajasthan and had gone for winter training to Leh and Ladakh.”

What was the training like? “We were put under a strict high protein diet. We  trained for long hours starting as early as 5 am. The key areas to concentrate on were stamina and strength in the legs.”

Calling his father the inspiration behind his success – as the former too is an avid trek­ker and used to come back from his treks with a lot of stories, Raghav shares his joy at his personal feat, “I feel on top the world to have bec­ome the youngest Indian to summit such a tough peak. It is an honour and an amazing feeling too.”

The historic journey which started on April 6 from Delhi ended on a winning note Monday, at their school.

Asked to explain what it was like to be standing atop the highest point in the world, the young chap described the scenic beauty. “It was amazing and beautiful. We crossed so many rivers and there was snow all around. But we faced difficulties too like when the oxygen level used to come down. I had headaches and nausea at high altitudes, but I managed.”

The best part about the trip was that nobody was injured. “I was fully prepared for the journey and never compromised on safety. People who compromise suffer. The whole team was really supportive and we all survived on Maggi at the camps.”

So, what did he feel like after conquering the peak? “Actually, itna dimaag nai chal raha tha. I was numb and tired and did not know how to react.

“We just took some pictures, thanked everyone, God, parents and began the climb down after 10-15 minutes. Climbing down is the most dangerous part and there are a lot of chances for a slip up.”

Weren’t your parents tense about your decision to climb Everest? “Yes. They were. But I was sure that I wanted to do it. My mother actually cried after seeing me.”

A single expedition can cost upto Rs 20 lakh per person and Raghav was supported by his parents, school and Hero Cycles.

The Std X student who wants to continue mountaineering even in future says his, “dream is to conquer all the highest peaks of the seven con­tinents.” Talk about tall ambitions but one that is likely to bear fruit for sure. 

The team, who braved the odds with Raghav included Ajay Sohal (16) and Prithvi Chahal (17) who made it to the summit first, followed by Shubham Kaushik (16), and Fateh Brar (16). Raghav Joneja (15) and Guribadat Singh (17) made it on the final
assault. Way to go!