An individual's silent affair with the mountain might not seem to be a spectator sport in the past but times are changing in India. Meritorious young Indian climbers are achieving feats that were unheard of and activities like mountaineering, rock climbing (including bouldering) and ice climbing are slowly garnering more attention.
Believe it or not, it is the influence of these young adventure enthusiasts is just what we need right now. Wish to know who they are? Here are some of the most-acclaimed Indian mountaineers, climbers and outdoor lovers who can give you just the right dose of inspiration.
The hobby that began with artificial wall climbing in college days led Prerna Dangi to unexpected heights quite literally. She is one of the few ice climbers who are pushing this sport in Inda and she is an acclaimed rock climber and mountaineer too. With Ishani Swant, they became first Indian girls to climb Stok Kangri and did so in 2 days. She has scaled Denali (6190 mtrs), the highest peak in North America, without a guide and won bronze medal in the National Climbing Championship in 2015. She is also a professional mountain guide with Geck & Co Adventures.
At 16 he was the third youngest Indian to climb Everest. At 17 he was the youngest Indian to climb Lhtose and in the same year he became the youngest to summit Manaslu. Along with Bhupesh Kumar in 2015, he scaled a 20, 280 ft virgin peak in Spiti an named it Mt Kalam in the memory of the late Indian President. His current expedition to Mount Kanchenjunga is probably the first mountaineering expedition in India that is getting a wide coverage in mainstream media and this illustrious young mountaineer surely deserves all the attention.
He is a mountaineer and apple farmer from Hatkoti village in Shimla who has quickly gained a celebrity status among mountaineers in India. In 2012 he graduated from Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports (ABVIMAS) and received all the required training in mere 12 months. He is constantly working to introduce Alpinism and ice climbing in India and has also conceptualised a Mountain Self Sufficiency Course to promote independent trekking. Along with other climbers, his ice climbing project 'The Fall' became a much acclaimed documentary and has been screened widely in India.
She is a photographer and an environmentalist who has been pursuing sport climbing since childhood. Gowri was based out of Bangalore and received the Live Your Dream Grant by The American Alpine Club and The North Face. As a conversationalist, she has worked in the Amazon for over five years now with specialisation in birds and butterflies. Along with her husband Paul Rosolie, a renowned naturalist, she runs Tamandua Expeditions which offers adventure packed expeditions in the Peruvian Amazon Basin.
He is a fitness enthusiast who has been pushing the boundaries of physical endurance and inspiring young Indians to head outdoors. He had quit his marketing job to pursue adventure sports and since then he's been a man of many hats. As a photographer, mountaineer, ice climber and Acro yoga expert, he's been a teacher for many aspiring mountaineers. He also works with Delhi Rock where he shares his experiences and trains future talents in the field of mountaineering and sport climbing.
Dr. Manpreet Kaur
Dr Manpreet is a cancer survivor who not only battled her illness but emerged as an inspiring figure who reached the zenith of success last year when she climbed Mt Everest. Throughout her Everest journey last year she exuded great optimism as she trained her body and mind. It's been one year since her successful Everest expedition and through occasional poetry on her Insta handle, time and again she inspires people to fight your own demons and 'Climb Your Own Everest'.
At the age of 13 when she first visited the Himalayas, she fell in love with the mountains and promised to come back. She recived her formal mountaineering training from NIMS Uttarkashi and after completing the Advanced Mountaineering Course, Ishani and Prerna Dangi became the first women to ascent Stok Kangri in mere 2 days and her quest for heights didn't end there. Draupadi-Ka-Danda-2 (Gharwal, Uttarakhand), Renok Peak (Sikkim), Mount Mera (Nepal) are some of the high altitude expedition she's been on. She is also an outdoor educator and organises treks in the Sahyadri region of Maharashtra.
His passion for climbing began when he unexpectedly got selected in the North Zone Climbing Competition when he was in class seven. In 2011 he participated in the training camp for Asian Youth Championship. Later he started to independently train himself at Badami Caves in North Karnataka with other local climbers which is one of the hotspots for rock climbing in India. At the North Zone competition of 2013, Gaurav finished first in both lead climbing and bouldering. In October 2014, Gaurav climbed Ganesha, one of India's toughest sports climbing route in Badami and is now listed among celebrated Indian climbers.
Is your hero not on the list? Tell us about other Indian outdoor enthusiasts who have been inspiring figures and mention them on the comments section below.
If you have made a start, tell us about your affair with the outdoors. How have you fared? I would love to know. Share your story.