Can’t see, but no peak too high
He might be visually challenged, but that's no reason to deter him from climbing some of the highest mountains in the country.
Atul Ranjan Sahay, 42, is preparing to trek a difficult terrain – above 18,000 ft this year.
Last year, he had taken up a treacherous 70-km Mangti-Adi Kailash (16,300 feet) trek in Uttarakhand. “Though the trekking route has not yet been finalised but it would probably be in Rudraprayag in Nainital,” said Sahay who had been a part of five expedition teams including one in the Kumaon region on Indo-China border.
The Tata Steel executive had lost his left eye at 14 and the right eye nine years later due to a retina- related disease. Yet he decided to take up mountaineering.
He did a course from the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling.
On his first experience of scaling a 14000-ft peak at Djongri (Sikkim), Sahay said, “Earlier I had doubts in my mind. You don't conquer the mountain, but your self-confidence.” Later in 2002, he led a 16-member team of visually challenged people from the National Association for the Blind to Darwa in Garwal, Uttar Kashi.
About the Adi Kailash expedition last year he said, "It was my most challenging expedition because it is at 16,300 feet about sea-level. But we did complete in 14 days," he said.
Only professional mountaineers participated in this expedition because there were neither mules nor porters. All trekkers, including Sahay, carried luggage on their backs.
“One of the reason I undertake such trekking expeditions is to motivate the visually-impaired people like me to become self-reliant and face challenges ... I want them to live a life full of joy as I do,” said Sahai, who has an MA in English.