13 and aiming for the Everest

Published on Jun 06, 2022 11:54 AM IST

A 13-year-old Punekar recently visited hoisted the Indian flag at the Everest Base camp. He speaks about his and his father’s dream to be the youngest Indian to climb Mount Everest.

13 and aiming for the Everest
13 and aiming for the Everest
ByVinay MR Mishra

A 13-year-old boy, who lives in a modest 10x10 rented apartment in Pune, mountaineer Sai Sudhir Kawde is making his father proud. “There are more than 30 (news) articles about his last expedition, I keep on getting calls from people,” says Sai’s father Sudhir.

Sai recently got back home after his expedition to the Everest Base camp, where he hoisted the Indian flag and sang the national anthem. While the base camp took place on May 26, on May 28 he climbed the peak of Kala Patthar. “It took us almost 5 hours to get up and down the peak. But the views were surreal. I could see the entire Everest,” Sai– who is a kid of few words – says. Sudhir adds, “He doesn’t have a way with his words, but he is capable of doing a lot of things.”

He shyly admits that he has been the “hero” of his group of friends. “Everyone has supported me,” Sai says. However, what makes this story endearing is how Punekars have come together for Sai and his father’s dream. “I don’t make much money. Barely 10-15 thousand a month. I could never afford the expense of these treks. People have crowdfunded and often taken care of his expeditions. There have been times when people have also taken care of his food,” Sudhir reveals. For his last expedition Iron Man IPS Krishna Prakash, who was earlier posted as the commissioner of Pimpri Chinchwad “financially supported” Sai. “I used to practice with him. Sir, has supported me a lot in the Kala Patthar trek,” Sai says.

Sai’s passion for trekking and climbing mountains started four years ago. “Shivneri was my first fort, then I even dressed as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and climbed Lingana,” Sai recalls. Currently, he has climbed mountains like Kilimanjaro in Africa, the highest peaks of Elbrus in Europe and Stok Kangri, Patalsu in the Indian Himalayas. His next stop is Australia. However, Sai and his father’s dream is to see him on the peak of Mount Everest. “He needs to have certain experience, which we hope he will get post his expedition to Australia. We are aiming that he climbs Mount Everest by next year, something that no Indian has achieved at this age,” Sudhir signs off.

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