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Not content with climbing Everest

other Updated: Apr 03, 2012 01:33 IST
Sharmistha Chaudhuri

For the majority, teenage years have a set daily routine - education, friends, and social networking. Not everyone can boast of creating a world record, unless the individual in question happens to be Arjun Vajpai.

The 18-year-old mountaineer is already the youngest to have climbed three eight-thousanders (above 8000m) peaks in the world and this summer will see him continue on his quest of emulating idol Reinhold Messner of Italy.

"I want to attempt a world record-setting feat this summer. We are still waiting for a few details to be worked out. I want to go to China and attempt to climb two peaks but if it doesn't work out, I will go to Nepal to climb one peak," he told HT. Which peaks? "I can't disclose the full details yet," Arjun added, who only has a few days left before he departs for his summer adventure.

He became the youngest Indian to climb Mt Everest (8,848m) in May 2010 as a 16-year-old. Last year Arjun added Mt Lhotse (8,516m) and Mt Manaslu (8,163m) to his growing resume. Now, he has set his sights on becoming the first Indian to climb the 14 highest mountain peaks in the world - a feat which idol Messner became the first to achieve in 1986.

"For most Indians, everything starts and ends with Mt Everest. I want to take Indian mountaineering beyond this level. I still have 11 more peaks to cover," the first year marketing honours student states.

One had heard he wanted to accomplish the three-pole challenge - Mt Everest, the north and south poles. "Funds didn't come through for that. I'll attempt it after completing the 14-peak challenge," the determined climber said.

And training is no joke. Eight hours of training to build body strength, a 5000-calorie diet and the morning alarm ringing at 3.30am. "I plan my own work out regime," Arjun explained. One loses about 10-15kgs while climbing thus preparations are a must.

"I want to introduce mountaineering at the grassroot level. We have the perfect training grounds in our country itself. Not only does it build character but also teaches one valuable life skills," he added.