Six 16-year-old boys have a momentous task up their sleeves and it has nothing to do with examinations. These students of Lawrence School, Sanawar, are in fact, training to climb the highest peak in the world — Mount Everest. Their endeavour to climb the 8,848 metre-high mountain might help their school be the first ever to scale the Everest, an initiative aided by Woodland’s project, Teens Tame Everest.
It is advisable to not judge the teens by their looks, they have, after all, undergone scrupulous training to make it to the final team. Led by Col Neeraj Rana, a former principal of the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling, the expedition kicks off on April 5 from Delhi, from where they head to Kathmandu, Lukla and finally, Mt Everest, travelling over a period of two months. Says Rana, “When we came up with this idea seven months ago, there were almost 30 teenagers who showed interest.
After the initial elimination round, 12 were shortlisted, finally narrowing to six who have undergone extensive training. There is a seventh member, 15-year-old Raghav Juneja from Moradabad, who is a wild card entry and will be a part of the team only after he shows results during the final training.”
Meanwhile, the six boys —Hakikat Singh Grewal from Sangrur, Guribadat Singh from SAS Nagar, Prithvi Singh from Patiala, Ajay Sohal from Manali, Shubham Kaushik from Delhi and Fateh Singh Brar from Muktsar — trained for five months at the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute in muscle building and strengthening exercises and weight training. The boys were made to climb Frey Peak (5,830 m) and BC Roy Peak (5,182 m) in Sikkim. “To an extent, I was convinced that the boys won’t let me down,” shares Rana, adding, “They also practised climbing hard ice and negotiate crevices. Finally, I also got to see team spirit in them, which is the most important thing.”
Other aspects of the boys’ training schedule included cycling for 1,000 km on various terrains in the Thar desert, Rajasthan,averaging almost 70-80 km for 10 continuous days.
Now, as they near the start of their journey, the team of six is gearing to increase their endurance by undergoing cross training and a 10-day high altitude winter training-cum-acclimatisation trek at Khardung La in Ladakh. Right after, the boys will train for fat reserve build up along with studying for their examinations in March.
Says the super excited bunch of six, “Though we trained rigorously, none of us ever thought of quitting. In case anybody’s morale suffered a low, each of us tried to boost up that person. Our friends have been appreciating our efforts and the pictures and experiences that we have been sharing on social networking sites have also got a huge response. Our expectations are really high and we are sure we will live up to them.”