Kundapur, June 15, 2016: In 2009, a youth of Kundapur origin Harshad Rao, then 20, pedalled his way down to Kanyakumari. Now 27, he’s far up in the opposite direction, breathless atop Mount Everest.
An avid trekker from his teenage years, Harshad scaled the world’s highest peak on May 21st morning, reaching the summit around 8.08am after he began the last stretch climb on 20th evening from Camp 4. While he was assisted by a Nepal-based trekking institute, Harshad made his way to the top all alone.
His family, admittedly sweating in the hot weather back home in Pune, is overjoyed. "We got an update from Asian Trekking (P) Ltd, which is assisting Harshad in his Mount Everest expedition. It is a happy moment for us. Everyone in the family supported Harshad’s expedition", said Harshad’s father Kamalaksha Rao.
The proud father says that Harshad’s passion was substantiated by his hard work and will power. "Harshad was preparing hard for the expedition for the last eight months. Himalayan expeditions are tough as trekkers are tested mentally and physically. Harshad had set a goal: he wanted to reach the top of the world," he beams.
The achievement has melted all apprehensions and struggles that had come before Harshad even set foot in the Himalayan snows.
"We have undergone many hurdles to make all the necessary arrangements for the expedition and meet the expenses. We are still short of funds. But there was an aim to complete the mission", said Rao.
The expedition had begun on May 17 when Harshad began his way from the base camp. On May 19, he reached camp 3 and on Friday, he climbed up to camp 4. There was a reported plan to attempt the summit after that depending on the weather. Harshad is likely to take two more days to return to the base camp.
Rao adds that when his son isn’t busy looking for more peaks to scale, he is a BCA student of Savitribai Phule University of Pune and has also done a software testing course. "He has had this love for trekking and mountaineering since his early teens. When he grew older, he went for mountaineering courses to gain the skills required for trekking at higher levels in the Himalayas. He has scaled over 20 pinnacles in Maharashtra’s Sahyadri range, " he says.