Young mountaineer Arjun Vajpai is on a quest - to climb the 14 highest peaks in the world. After having scaled three 'eight-thousander' peaks over the past two years, Arjun has now set his sights on Mt Cho Oyu (8201m) and Mt Shishapangma (8013m) in China this summer.
The 18-year-old will be leaving for his expedition later this week. He will attempt to scale Mt Cho Oyu (sixth highest peak) first, in the third week of May. If all goes well, he will aim for Mt Shishapangma (14th highest) in the last week. "But you can't fight nature," Vajpai said on Tuesday. "If the weather doesn't hold, it may take longer."
Seeking new heights
Already a record holder, Vajpai is trying to create three new ones. He wants to become the youngest in the world to climb five 'eight-thosanders', the youngest to climb Mt Shishapangma and the youngest to scale two eight-thousanders in one season.
But above all, Vajpai has only one set goal - to become the first Indian among the elite group of climbers to scale all 14 eight-thousanders. "I am saddened that no Indian features among the 23 climbers, so my aim is to put my nation on the elite list," Vajpai added.
Getting permission from China for the expedition was difficult with only four climbers being granted access. Thus, Vajpai will be joined by two sherpas and a coach in Kathmandu.
There's always a debate raging that at what age one should attempt these climbs. "Well, youngsters have an ability to acclimatise faster, but on the downside, they are more vulnerable. It's because the body is not fully developed yet," Vajpai explained.
But, then why go through such pain and intense training? "It's all about the view from the top of the world. No amount of money can buy that. That's my motivation," he says with a smile.