Early Saturday morning, 16-year-old schoolboy from the National Capital Region, Arjun Vajpai, became the youngest Indian to successfully climb the world's highest peak, 8,848-metre-high Mount Everest, via the traditional South Col route in Nepal.
Over the moon at her son's achievement, Priya Vajpai said: “I have no words to describe just how proud I am. We knew that he was going to push for the peak on Saturday morning and when at 6.30 a.m., members of the team coordinating the climb phoned to tell us that Arjun had successfully managed to climb Mt. Everest and that he was safe, we all jumped for joy.
We are proud of our son's achievement. We haven't been able to speak to him yet and are hoping to do so soon when he will reach back to his base camp.” Admitting that she was worried about Arjun's safety when he told them about his decision to join a group trying to conquer the Everest, Ms. Vajpai said, “Arjun's self-motivation and determination was contagious and we had to trust him about this decision. When I expressed my concern about the risk involved in the climb, he told me to stop worrying. My son will turn 17 next month and this is really a huge achievement.”
Arjun is a student of Ryan International School, at Sector 39 in Noida. According to his mother, he has been always been an outdoor person and loves trekking, hiking, football and basket ball. He was introduced to mountaineering only three years ago, but took to it like a fish to water.
Arjun was part of a 12-member expedition team that has a record number of Indian climbers trying their luck individually. His father Sanjiv Vajpai, a former Army officer, said he was initially afraid to let Arjun go on the expedition. “He is just 16 years old and I wasn't sure if it would be fair to expose him to such a life-threatening risk. But his instructors at the Nehru Mountaineering Institute, where he did two mountaineering courses, said he had both the physical and mental ability to summit Mt. Everest and so we decided to let him go.”
Awaiting Arjun's return home, his elder sister Gauri , who is doing her graduation in Political Science, said: “We are expecting Arjun back at home by the end of the month and then we will celebrate his achievement. He definitely has to throw us a huge party.
Arjun has always loved the outdoors and though my parents were jittery about letting him undertake the climb because of the obvious danger involved it was Arjun's conviction in his decision that made them say yes.”On 13-year-old American schoolboy Jordan Romero becoming the youngest person in the world to climb the peak, hours after Arjun's climb, Ms. Vajpai said: “We heard about the young boy and are happy, that he is safe and managed to successfully scale the Everest. but as of now for us nothing in the world stands close to the joy that our son's successful climb has brought us.”
PTI reports from Kathmandu:
Arjun equalled the record of a Nepalese Sherpa Temba Tsheri, who also climbed the peak when he was sixteen.Arjun's team was led by Apa Sherpa, 50, who broke his own record to become the first man to climb the peak for a record 20th time.
The Noida boy also broke the record of Krushnaa Patil, 18, from Maharashtra, who became the youngest Indian to reach the highest peak in 2009.
Along with Arjun, also making it to the top was an Indian woman Mamta Sodha, who reached the summit at 10:24 a.m.The feat of the two was conveyed to PTI on phone by Chunu Shrestha of the Asian Trekkers, who had organised the expedition.