Pics: Rons Bantwal
Daijiworld Media Network – Kathmandu (RD/VA)
Kathmandu, May 26: A doughty schoolboy from New Delhi added yet another feat to the annals of mountaineering by becoming the youngest Indian to climb Mount Everest, the world's highest peak, on Saturday May 22.
Arjun Vajpayee, a student of Ryan International School, who turns seventeen, next month, became the tallest twelfth grader when he planted the Indian tricolour on the snow-clad summit of the 8,848 metre mountain.
There was jubilation at his home in New Delhi as his mother Priya Bajpayee was overjoyed on being told that her son had reached the summit. She expressed her happiness with both laughter and tears. ‘I have no words to describe my feelings, said Priya Vajpai to Daijiworld reporter over the phone. ‘We were anxiously waiting for a call in the morning and when it came, I was laughing and crying,’ Priya Vajpai said.
Arjun set off for the last push at 10.45 pm on Friday night, making it to the top of the world at 6.18 am on Saturday. He exuded calm and confidence before embarking on the last and most difficult part of the journey. ‘Stop worrying, mom, I am fine,’ he told his mother. ‘I can run my way to the top.
Arjun was a part of a twelve member expedition team that has a record number of Indian climbers trying their luck individually. Two hours later, Arjun's team member Mamata Sodah, a thirty year old physical education teacher at Shaheed Baba Deep Singh College of Education in Haryana, also stood on the summit, making it the fourth Indian ascent this year.
On Monday May 24, two more Indian members of the team, who had joined at the last moment after being refused a climbing permit by the Chinese authorities, had reached the summit.
Basanta Singha Roy, a forty seven year old veteran climber and bank employee, thirty seven year old Income tax official Debashish Biswas, became the first climbers from Nadia district in West Bengal to conquer Mount Everest. High school student Bhagyshree Sawant, who is also part of the team, has set out for the summit on Tuesday May 25. If she reaches the top, Bhagyashree will become the youngest Indian woman to achieve the feat, overturning the record set last year by fellow Maharashtrian Krushnaa Patil.
Though Arjun began climbing only three years ago, he took to the sport immediately. He had no acclimatisation problems while taking up the Everest challenge.