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Not a joke, says India's youngest Everest climber

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Arjun Bajpayee speaking to the students of Kendriya Vidyalaya, Kathmandu.
Arjun Bajpayee speaking to the students of Kendriya Vidyalaya, Kathmandu.

Prerana Marasini

KATHMANDU: The youngest Indian to climb the world's highest peak says it was his dream to become a world-class mountaineer that drove him to Mount Everest.

Sixteen-year-old Arjun Bajpayee from Noida made a successful ascent on the Everest a week ago. Sharing his experience with the students of Kendriya Vidyalaya, Kathmandu, Arjun said, “The Everest is not a joke,” adding that he had a lot of difficulties while ascending and descending the mountain.

“My oxygen mask was frozen because of the cold,” he told the students who listened to him patiently, “and I thought I would die.” He overcame the situation by sheer willpower: “I started speaking to myself — one more step.”

Arjun felt dizzy, but his Sherpa guide took care of him. In the mountain, he had a lot of headaches and backaches because of sleeping on the ice and the cold winds. However, he was very happy to be on top of the world, from where he saw “the sun coming from down.”

Arjun is a Class XII student, who took a professional mountaineering course two years ago. He plays football, basketball and practises martial arts. He is a national-level karate and taekwondo player. How does he manage all these? “Well, I do less of studies and more of play,” he told The Hindu with a smile.

Arjun was part of the expedition which included world-famous mountaineer Apa Sherpa, who has climbed the Everest not two or three, but 20 times. “Every climber would want to climb with him,” Arjun told The Hindu.

Apa recently broke his own record by climbing the Everest the 20th time.

Arjun on Romero

Arjun is also fascinated by the achievement of 13-year-old American Jordan Romero, the youngest person in the world to climb the Everest. “He has done a commendable job. I wouldn't have dared at that age.”

About his future plans, Arjun says he wants to climb the 14 tallest peaks of the world.

Indian Ambassador to Nepal Rakesh Sood felicitated Arjun and said it was a magnificent achievement.

Mr. Sood hoped that Arjun would come to Nepal again. After spending two months in Nepal, Arjun will return to India on Monday.

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