LEARNING HOW TO SURVIVE EVEREST
…and I ended up coming to Bhopal for my higher education. The 12th grade in my education was busy, a flurry of activity. Though I knew it was important to keep my head straight for the board exams, I couldn’t keep myself away from adventure – from my dream. I was constantly working with adventure companies and outfits as an instructor during this time, persistently seeking information and experience that would get me one step closer to Everest. Luckily enough, my diligence paid off; I found out about Nehru Institute of Mountaineering in Uttarkashi. Bubbling with excitement, I Googled for more details and ended up applying to the institute for a seat in admissions.
My excitement knew no bounds. I was constantly on the edge of my seat, hoping, waiting for that letter to come in. Little did I know about the wait that lay ahead of me…
We all know it requires extreme level of endurance and physical fitness to be able to pull-off the Everest stunt. I knew it too, and very well, for a fact. What waited for me in at the institute was the most torturous form of gruelling physical training that I had ever known. Sure, I was a sportsperson; I had great stamina and fitness already by the time I joined the Institute – but my body still wasn’t quite there. Lugging a weight of 20 kilograms on your back while scaling the tough terraforms of a mountain isn’t a joke! And it didn’t end there. Upon reaching various campsites, I was to train in ice-craft and other skills necessary to navigate the terrain of snowy, ice-covered mountains. I knew there would be an exam to test my suitability on a mountain and that only scoring an A could sail me through to the next level.
I made a firm resolve to myself, then: I was going to see the end of this training successfully. I wanted to master it all – the techniques to climb and descend, using the tools and gear, saving yourself and others, everything there was to know about survival on a mountain I promised to myself to learn wholeheartedly. This was my chance to fulfil my dream, and on my part I was not going to leave any page unread or any stone unturned.
I passed with flying colours.
Thus I moved on to the advanced climbing course. Here too, I scored straight As.All this training still couldn’t quench my thirst for knowledge about climbing. I decided to do a course in Methods of Instruction, which would allow me to teach mountaineering to others. In some way, I believed, this would help me in my quest for summits. My entire time during and after this course, I kept training to be physically fit and fitter. I trekked with rucksacks, I cycled and did yoga; my fitness had to become top-notch and stay like that for me to dream of climbing Everest.