Climbing the Mountains,
I fought extremely hard to get where I am.
I cannot explain the intensity and height of the mountains I have climbed,
I was often told I would never succeed,
I exceeded expectations & now I am pleased,
I used to have zero self-belief,
I was once innocent and naive.
I could have hidden in my own little world,
Instead, I strived for greatness,
I was constantly asking myself questions.
Is there a way out of this war?
Is there any chance I could succeed?
I went to having little self-belief,
I’ve now got pride in what I’ve achieved,
I never gave up, I never gave in,
Intensive dedication is what it took,
It started from carrying inner strength,
Is there anything I can’t accomplish?
— Cheyenne smith
“Seven years ago, my average student life, in a middle-class Indian family, with the usual Engineering-MBA plans was seriously disrupted when I tasted trekking for the first time. That disruption was my creation”, Harshvardhan Joshi. But climbing Mount Everest was his feat? Actually much more than meets the eye here. Harshvardhan had been dreaming of the big day when he would eventually scale Mt Everest. “In 2018, I told my parents that I really wanted to climb Everest and they trusted me with my vision,” shares the 25-year-old mountaineer, who hails from Vasai. He was on the verge of fulfilling his dream but just a week before his initial plan to summit, he tested positive for COVID-19 at the Everest base camp on May 8. Harshvardhan, who had been fully vaccinated in March, felt “devastated”. However, having already postponed his plan once in 2020 due to the pandemic, he wasn’t ready to give up on his dream again so easily.
Harshvardhan showed extreme patience and mental strength and a focus on physical training when he got infected with covid at the base camp. Despite extreme precautions. Despite the vision of his years of preparations and funding looking like going down the drain he stayed positive and managed to climb Everest after getting a green signal from the medical team a few days later. A rare feat and to add another feather to his climb was the fact that he scaled the world’s highest peak using eco-friendly means the expedition was one-of-a-kind as the team did not burn non-renewable fuel for heating and other purposes. Joshi and his team used mobile solar panels for heating. Generally, expedition teams carry diesel for use.
They carried solar panels to Everest and donated them before coming back, which has earned his team a lot of accolades. Talking about it, Harshvardhan, who created a campaign to raise funds for his expedition, shares, “I wanted to integrate a cause that I can relate to. For the past, a couple of years, I have been spending three to four months in Ladakh and I have very closely seen the effects of global warming. So, I decided to complete this expedition in a sustainable way.” He adds, “We have identified three remote villages in Nepal which we want to electrify using solar panels since that is the way forward to sustainable living.” Mumbai-based Chirag Rural Development Foundation provided the panels. They provide solar and eco-friendly lighting solutions to remote villages.
But there is more to his gallant journey. From assembling and selling computers for pocket money to resourcing crowdfunding for his expedition this middle-class youngster is an epitome of discipline and self-realisation. A motivational speaker and a consultant for outdoor companies and sustainable living Harshvardhan donned several hats and are onto writing a book on his historical climb and a documentary as well.
But the sage in him is much older than his physical age, especially when talking about the climb or sustainable sources. He likens his climb to meditation, and mindfulness because you need to be mindful at every step and cannot afford to falter. The same is the case he says with our living because when we become mindful of how little we need for our living we value our sources more. After having faced several avalanches and seeing the window for the climb decreasing further Harshvardhan has become more active in raising awareness of climate change because it is the change that is bringing about these and we need to be aware right not about them.
He could have easily encashed in on his historical feat and definitely, he says there was no lack of opportunities and he did In fact do some adverts and marketing but only for a cause he could relate to, companies that were doing out of the box things for the community rest despite the money and fame he forsake because his motive is to give back to the community. His motive is to create awareness and reach.
His motive is to address the people facing everyday Everest (even if metaphorical) in their daily lives. Animal healthcare, uplifting remote rural areas and communities, working on his book, working on his documentary, working on his post-graduate applications—-motivating people to take up one sport or optional movement to combat depression and speaking on various platforms and working on his blog social media with GoPro enabled beautiful footage and on and on and phew I’m out of breath just writing about it but him, Harshvardhan is just doing it all days without a break like a part and parcel of his meditative balance of a day. And the most and the best part of the talk with Harshvardhan was his total and complete pride in his country and in Everest. He explains at length the expenses involved in the climb and very intelligently explains how this is as yet the cheapest and most affordable climb.
Again despite the media outburst, he goes on to explain the dedication of countries in keeping the climbing green and clean where even the human waste is processed in a biogas plant and unlike other climbs, it’s maintained much better as far as waste is considered. The absolute pride of a hound man in his country and the belief in the resources and furthermore willingness to be a part of the change are even more heartwarming than his amazing achievements.
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