Vasai resident embarks on tough mountain expedition

23-year-old may become the first Indian to scale the Himlung Himal, one of Nepal’s harshest climbs

September 30, 2019 02:20 am | Updated 02:20 am IST - Mumbai

Scaling heights:  Harshvardhan Joshi (right) at a trek during his Search and Rescue course at Nehru Institute of Mountaineering in Uttarakhand.

Scaling heights: Harshvardhan Joshi (right) at a trek during his Search and Rescue course at Nehru Institute of Mountaineering in Uttarakhand.

A 23-year-old Vasai resident will embark on a 32-day expedition to one of the harshest peaks in Nepal, and could become the first Indian to scale it if he succeeds.

Harshvardhan Joshi, a graduate in Information Technology (IT) engineering, has been an avid mountaineer since he was 14 years old. He has scaled peaks as high as 6,000 m over 20 times and was also the lead guide for an Indian Air Force expedition to Ladakh in the past.

On October 4, Mr. Joshi will start on the expedition to Mt. Himlung Himal, a 7,126-m peak in Nepal. If he succeeds, he will be the first Indian to have climbed it. “Only 472 people have summitted it so far, less than 5% of the total Everest climbers,” Mr. Joshi said.

There is a reason no Indian has scaled it yet, he said. “The peak is located in a very remote area named Narfu, which is restricted. No outsiders were allowed in that region until 1992, but even in these past 26 years, only 472 were able to summit it.”

He said there are risks associated with the expedition as there have been cases in which mountaineers have lost their fingers or toes to frostbite as the weather conditions are extremely harsh on Mt. Himlung Himal.

After the expedition, Mr. Joshi plans to write a book about how he shifted from IT engineering to mountaineering. He is also aiming to climb the Everest if he is able to gather enough funding, and to learn more about the field.

“I wish to pursue Masters and PhD degrees in Outdoor Courses from North America. I have already completed the Wilderness First Responder course from National Outdoor Leadership School in the U.S.A.,” he said.

Apart from scaling peaks, he has worked in the Himalayas for six months every year for the past four years in Impact Tourism, which involves helping people boost their businesses in a sustainable manner. He is also a freelance mountaineering guide in Ladakh and takes underprivileged people on mountaineering expeditions free of cost.

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