Veteran mountaineer pens book for children

Veteran mountaineer Umesh Zirpe pens book for children

Veteran mountaineer Umesh Zirpe. (DH Photo)

At a time when kids are glued to smartphones and physical activities taking a backseat, veteran mountaineer and adventurer Umesh Zirpe has penned a book to inspire kids to take up mountaineering. 

The specific "right age" for mountaineering could be 10, says Zirpe, who is credited with leading the largest civilian expedition of India to Mount Everest.

Zirpe, who knows the Sahyadri ranges like the back of his palm and has trained hundreds of young boys and girls, had been honoured with the coveted Shri Shiv Chhatrapati Award by the Maharashtra government.

In the book,  'Joy of Mountaineering: A Beginner's Guide for Children',  Zirpe says: "Thousands of people all over the world participate in sports activities on land, in the sea and in air. Mountaineering has a place of pride, earning the title - 'mother of all adventure sports'.  A mountaineer learns nature, flora, fauna, geography, geology and what not. It leads to overall physical and mental development and create leaders."

Zirpe said mountaineering as an adventure is wide and covers trekking, rock climbing,  ice climbing, artificial wall climbing and sports climbing.

"In fact, sports climbing will make its debut in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Prior to that, India has hosted the first Sports Climbing Sports Club and our climbers had impressed everyone by their performance," said Zirpe, who is associated with Pune-based Giripremi.

To parents and teachers, Zirpe says that first, the kids' mind has to develop an attraction for the post. "It is essential to prepare the mind early on before actual climbing is initiated and slowly it becomes a habit," he said, adding that once the interest is developed the physical and mental preparation goes simultaneously.

"Slowly and slowly one chooses his or her kit and gear depending on the activity," says the veteran.

"In the present-day life full of tensions, mountaineering keeps one physically and mentally fit and away from lifestyle-related diseases," he says.

Zirpe, a tax consultant by profession, is also the Director of Guardian Giripremi Institute of Mountaineering, which trains future mountaineers.