Ain't no mountain high enough

GREATER HEIGHTS

With his parents being rock climbers, it is no surprise that 18-year-old Tuhin Satarkar took to the sport. But for the Pune-based climber to be such a natural at it to make it his profession was not something even he had expected.

“I started climbing when I was seven. A few years ago, I would have never thought I’d be climbing professionally. But last year, I signed up with Red Bull, which is sponsoring me and has changed my life,” notes Tuhin, who is currently scaling unexplored routes
in Badami’s red sandstone cliffs with Kilian Fischhuber, five times Bouldering World Cup Champion and Red Bull athlete.

The two-week climb is already proving to be fruitful, he tells Metrolife. “We’ve started looking for new walls so that we can chart out some unexplored routes. On the first day itself, Kilian climbed Ganesh (8b+), which is the hardest sport route in India. Since the route was discovered, it was my dream to climb it but I didn’t get a chance. Last month, two of my friends from the USA were in Badami. It wasn’t planned but we ended up climbing Ganesh and I became the first Indian to have done that,” he says.

With the mental and physical strength required to do such intense climbs, a proper fitness regime is a must. “If I’m training for a competition, I start practising well in advance. I train everyday in the morning and evening. I do that for three days, rest and again do it for three days. There have been a lot of falls and scratches but no broken bones as yet,” shares Tuhin, whose agenda for 2014 is to explore the Himalayas.

But what is inspiring about this 18-year-old isn’t his stamina or determination to complete the toughest climbs. Despite his numerous achievements, what Tuhin hasn’t forgotten is humility. “I’m doing this for the love of the sport, not for the sake of winning competitions. Climbing gives me happiness and I don’t think I can find that quality of happiness through anything else,” he states.

However, he does voice his concern about how the sport needs to be viewed more seriously.

“It’s not very popular in India. The community of climbers is slowly growing and has matured a lot over the last two years. We have a lot more participation in the World Cup than a few years ago. Even at the Girivihar Sport Climbing Competition which is held in Belapur, Mumbai every year, there are more climbers competing than before. But what I would love to see is more climbers come up and compete on an international level,” wraps up Tuhin.

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