Parth Upadhyaya is a professional mountaineer from Mumbai. On 23rd May 2019, he became the youngest Mumbaikar to climb Mount Everest. Climbing Everest had been a 9-year long dream and journey for him with all sorts of obstacles one can imagine. Also recently, he attempted to climb Annapurna 1, the most dangerous peak in the world. Unfortunately had to turn around very close to the summit. He started trekking at the age of 15 and since then he has completed over 800 treks across Sahyadri’s and Himalayan mountain ranges. Moreover, he also works as a motivational speaker for various institutions.
Here is Parth Upadhyaya in a conversation with GOGO Magazine.
1) How did your journey begin?
it was way back in 2010 when I was 15 years of age I went for a small trek to Mount Kalsubai which is the highest peak of Maharashtra. I saw the sunrise from there and for the first time in my life I’ve seen so beautiful. A thought came to my mind that if the sunrise from this hill is so beautiful how would it look from the top of the world. That is when I promised myself that no matter what I need to see the sunrise from top of the world and it took 9 years but that was when the dream of climbing Everest was into my mind
2) Who has been your inspiration?
I have had many inspirations. You can learn something from everyone and I still do that. A major influence in my life has been a mountaineer Arjun Vajpayee he is from Delhi. The 1st trek I went on was because of him. I saw his news coverage on TV and got inspired by him. Eventually, we connected on Facebook and became friends. Then years later I went to his house to stay with him for a year because he wanted t train me and mentor me. He has given me the necessary training and necessary understanding. He was my guru so whatever I am today I owe it to him.
3) Tell us about your Everest summit.
In 2019 I left for the expedition and on 23rd May I submitted. I remember the last few minutes, I was walking on the last slope which leads to the sub, it. It was close to 5 in the morning. It was cold, the sun was coming up and I saw the summit, and I thought now if anything happens I will reach the top and nothing will stop me and I will reach the top. Tears started flowing down my eyes because of 9 years of dreaming, hard work and so many sacrifices I did for this moment and now it is in front of me. I was on my knees and started crying. The tears from my eyes were freezing my cheeks as it was so cold. I got up and took those last few steps to the top of the world and I had it to myself. The view from the top was so mesmerizing it is hard to articulate using 26 alphabets but I will try. You can see the curvature of the earth from there bending on all sides. the sky was dark as the sun was still rising. you could see night turn into day. All the clouds are below you and for a few minutes, I was the highest man in the whole world, and that power and feeling I so amazing. You realize what the power of a dream is capable of, I was 15 when I saw this dream and at 24 I was here.
4) Which has been the most dangerous trek of your life?
The most dangerous expedition of my life has been to one that I went to recently. It was Mount Annapurna. It is the most dangerous mountain on the earth, dangerous than Everest. There is a constant danger of avalanches. I myself was caught in 2 avalanches in which I was lucky enough to survive. So it was the most dangerous mountain I have been to but also the most beautiful mountain I’ve been to.
5) How did you feel after becoming the youngest Mumbaikar to climb Everest?
I din’t even know before i came to Mumbai that I have made this record. Personally it doesn’t matter to me as i don”t climb for records but I do it because I love climbing. It is actually sad that I am the youngest to climb Everest because there are 18-19 year old from other states climbing Everest.
6) Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
I see myself climbing mountains for sure. This is the goal of my life to take mountaineering to the next level. To promote it at the grass-root level because awareness is what is lacking in this sport. In the next 5 years, I want to see mountaineering in a better state than it is now. It should be accepted by the common masses and become proper support with government and corporates willing to support athletes of mountaineering. So this is where I see this sport and myself in the next 5 years.
7) Tell us the scariest experience from your Everest summit.
There were two moments. After summiting Everest when I was coming down on a section called step two, I saw an accident happen with a fellow climber and he died there. His legs entangled on the ropes and he was complete upside down on a rock face and his mask came off. He was uncautious and he died in the next 5 minutes. So 1 hour after this experience something bad healthwise started happening to me. My energy levels dropped and I was unable to walk on my two feet, and if this happens to you there you will die there because choppers cannot fly up to that height. I thought I will not be able to make it down and when this happened, tears started flowing down my eyes and I was just praying to the universe that just give me 30 seconds with my loved ones, with my family. All the things I could not say to them in 24 years I just need 30 now to say that. I felt so stupid for wasting 24 years and not saying something that would have just said in 30 seconds but time once gone is gone. Then my sherpa guide game and he saw my oxygen cylinder was running empty. That is why I felt that way so he immediately changed the cylinder. It was a stupid mistake but that that altitude your brain is not working properly and you make such mistakes. But that day he saved my life, his name was Ming Ma Tin Ze Sherpa and I owe my life to him.
8) What should be the 3 tips you want to give to a young individual who has a dream to climb Everest?
One thing I always say is if you want to climb mountains of specifically Everest you need to go through the right steps. You need to go through proper training, you need to have proper guidance and you need to first climb small mountains in the Himalayas and then go for Everest. Most people are using shortcuts, especially Indians and they are spoiling the Indian mountaineering community name on the international level and it is not acceptable. So if one wants to go to Everest they have to go through the right kind of training and experience to go there for the safety of yourself and others. Secondly, you go to Everest only once so better be in your best shape when you go there. So this would be my tip.
9) How was life in quarantine?
Life was okay I would say. In March 2020 I was supposed to go for the Anapurna expedition but 1 week before leaving the expedition was canceled and everything was shut down. Initially, I was a bit mentally frustrated but then I saw the situation and how the world is suffering much more and 1 more year, so it’s okay. I used to follow a workout routine which I did on my terrace, eat right, read something good and watch all the movies and TV series as I had the time now. So I kept it very simple.
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