Scaling the highest mountain in the world is no mean feat. Every year, several mountain climbers from around the globe take on an unpredictable, dangerous journey to summit Mount Everest, but only a select few emerge victorious. Meet 55-year-old Gurgaon resident Ankur Bahl, whose group of 30 tough members — seven climbers (including Bahl), five guides and 18 sherpas — conquered the peak of Everest this May 19, and made their way back safely. Located in the Mahalangur mountain range in Nepal and Tibet, Mt Everest’s peak is 8,848 metres above sea level.
A proud Ankur Bahl poses with the Indian Flag after reaching the summit point of Mt Everest.
Talking to HT City about his glorious feat, Bahl — who returned home earlier this week — says: “I still can’t believe I’ve successfully touched the beauty of Mount Everest. I have to pinch myself to come out of this dream-come-true moment. Now, even if I die tomorrow, I will not have any complaints!”
The retired Merchant Navy officer and an alumnus of Doon School, Dehradun, believes that his education played an important role in inspiring him to be a trekker — a passion that later turned to mountain climbing. “My school has a history of adventure and most of its students went for climbing while studying. I joined my friends on their trekking trips and it turned into a passion very soon,” says Bahl.
The team on a mission to climb the Mount Everest.
Climbing such a difficult terrain with a heavy load, anywhere between 7 and 10kg, on one's back demands years of preparation, proper diet and intense exercise. Bahl has been at it for years now. “Following a strict diet is a must for mountaineers. I exercise for five to six hours everyday and did not skip going to the gym even once in the past five years. This is the only way to condition your body so it can take the shock of what’s going to greet you once you start the climb,” he says.
A positive frame of mind is equally important. “I got one year of training during which I learnt how to face the difficult terrain and immense cold. I was very positive and that helped me in never giving up. To climb Mount Everest, one should have 4-5 years of experience of mountain climbing and must be able to cover a distance of 23,000 feet without the support of supplemental oxygen,” says Bahl, who has earlier scaled Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, Mount Elbrus in Europe and Mount Vinson in Antarctica. “It takes around two months to climb the Mount Everest and a major hurdle is maintaining good health. “To not fall sick is one of the biggest tasks. Stomach infection, cold and body pain may be small ailments otherwise, but can prove to be deadly during a tough climb and harsh conditions,” he signs off.