After being celebrated as the third youngest Indian to climb Mount Everest at the age of 16, Noida -based mountaineer Arjun Vajpai has now set his eyes on India's highest and world's third highest and a more challenging peak than Mt. Everest - Mt. Kangchenjunga.
Arjun aims to be the "Youngest Mountaineer" to complete the True Explorers' Grand Slam which means summiting all 14 above 8000m peaks and travelling unaided to North and South poles. Arjun has also climbed Mount Lhotse (27,940 ft), Mount Manaslu (26,759 ft), Mount Makalu 27,838 (in Nepal) and Mount Cho Oyu (26,864 ft in Tibet), which are among the 14 highest mountains in the world.
In a conversation with Entrepreneur India, the young mountaineer shared his challenges, journey and future plans.
For Four Years I Had Nothing On My Mind:
The mountain makes you deal with challenges and you either complete the climbing task or go back home. For Arjun, his greatest challenge was Mount Makalu. It took him four attempts to finally be able to climb this mountain.
“Four attempts means four years! For four years I had nothing on my mind each day, as I got up everyday nothing but a drive to reach the summit. It was as if I had left a part of me up there in 2013 on my first summit attempt on the very same mountain. Finally, on the 23rd of May 2016, we made it to the summit of the world's 5th highest mountain, Makalu,” he said.
Don't Let Fear Tell You That You Aren't Capable Of Doing Something:
A lot of mountaineers have a fear of heights, but with training and dedication, they soon overcome their fear.The biggest test of courage and fear is the first climb.
The 23-year-old believes that fear is temporary and it's something which doesn't even exist as of now in one's reality but is only a person’s perception of the future.
“What exists, on the other hand, is the pain of not having done something because of something which doesn't even exists as of now and might never exist in the future too. Don't let fear tell you that you aren't capable of doing something,” he said.
“There have been times when I should have been scared, been paralyzed on a mountain, left to die at 24,000ft, found myself hanging off a cliff while coming down Everest or while I fell into a craves while climbing a virgin peak in Spiti valley. But I realized in such moments, keep calm, assess the situation and move forward,” he added.
The Life In The Mountains Can Call One Back Again And Again:
Mountain climbing takes mental, physical and emotional challenges to a whole new level. Not only mountains teach you something but also tell the importance of nature for human survival and evolution.
When asked what keeps him going back to the mountains, he said, “I have asked myself this question many times. I come up with some of the funniest reasons why I keep going back. The coming spring season will mark my 10th 8000m expedition. I think its life in the mountains which calls me back again and again.Life makes more sense above 8000m.”