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At 57, Gurugram man becomes country’s oldest to conquer seven summits

Bahl climbed Carstensz Pyramid in the ‘oceanic region’ of Indonesia on August 14 to complete the Messner list. He had already completed the Bass list of seven summits in 2016.

gurgaon Updated: Aug 18, 2018 05:15 IST
Anurit Kanti and Kartik Kumar
Anurit Kanti and Kartik Kumar
Hindustan Times, Gurugram
Gurugram,seven summits,Ankur Bahl
Ankur Bahl at the summit of Puncak Jaya or Carstenz Pyramid in Indonesia.(HT Photo)

Captain (retd) Ankur Bahl, a 57-year-old resident of Gurugram, has become the oldest Indian to conquer seven peaks in the world.

Bahl climbed Carstensz Pyramid in the ‘oceanic region’ of Indonesia on August 14 to complete the Messner list. He had already completed the Bass list of seven summits in 2016.

The Bass and Messner list include seven summits each, which are widely considered the benchmark for mountaineering challenges. Through this achievement, Bahl is now a part of the ‘seven summits club’, whose first member was Richard Bass, the first person to climb all the seven summits in 1985. The seven summit list as postulated by Reinhold Messner include Mount Everest in Nepal, Aconcagua in Argentina, Denali in the United States, Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Mount Elbrus in Russia, Mount Vinson in Antarctica and Puncak Jaya or Carstensz Pyramid in Indonesia. In the Bass list, Puncak Jaya is replaced by Mount Kosciuszko in Australia.

In 2016, Bahl had climbed Mount Kosciuszko in Australia and completed the Bass list.

Wing Commander (retd) Amit Chowdhury, from Indian Mountaineering Federation (IMF), confirmed Ankur’s record. “As per our records, Ankur Bahl is the oldest Indian to climb all seven summits,” Chowdhury, member of the governing council of IMF, said.

“The first summit I climbed was Kilimanjaro, in 2011 when I decided to set out on conquering all summits in the Bass and Mesner list. That was the one I enjoyed the most,” Bahl said.

The 57-year-old said it was his perseverance and passion to achieve the single-minded goal which enabled him to conquer the seven peaks.“I have a family, two children, parents and a business to take care of. Yet, I found time to pursue this ambition to climb the summits,” Bahl said.

Bahl said he was on course to summit Mount Everest in 2015 when the Nepal earthquake occurred. He cited the temblor as the most challenging phase of his ascent to the world’s highest peak. “Although Everest was my most difficult climb, Carstenz Pyramid was also quite challenging, as it involved a lot of rock climbing and was quite dangerous,” Bahl said.

Born in New Delhi, Bahl has two sons, aged 25 and 15. He said he was driven by the ambition to scale lofty peaks since his days at Doon School and Welham Boys School, when he would go trekking on holidays.

Bahl’s wife Sangeeta, at 53, became the oldest Indian woman to scale Mount Everest earlier this year. Bahl has now set sights on the ‘explorer’s grand slam’ — covering the North and South Pole, along with the seven summits. He has covered the South Pole.

First Published: Aug 18, 2018 05:14 IST