Shimla: To mark the successful assault on Mt Everest, 60 years ago by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, seven high school students from one of India’s elitist schools Lawrence School Sanawar are all geared to attempt reaching the top of the world peak in May.
“Six of the boys are in Class XII and one is in Class X,” says Praveen Vashist, as the Everest expedition was flagged of by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh here today. He declared that it would be first by any school team in the world to attempt to scale the Sagarmatha Peak, as Mt Everest is locally known in Nepal.
“The idea was floated by parents of the students studying at the school,” says Colonel Neeraj Rana, trainer of the team who has been a former head of Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling (HMI).
In all 16 volunteers were picked to do a foundation mountaineering course and only the 12 best were picked for the advanced courses, says Rana, who hails from Palampur, Himachal Pradesh.
Introducing the seven young mountaineers, Hakikat Singh, Guribadat Singh, Prithvi Singh, Fateh Singh, Raghav Joneja, Shubham and Ajay Sohal, the trainer said that all the boys for aged between 16 and 17.
Four of the boys are from Punjab and one each from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh, he added.
As part of training to head up the big mountain, the students have effectively learnt survival, first aid and rescue techniques. To prepare them for scaling Everest, the boys were tested in climbing two peaks BC Roy and Frey Peak around Kanchenjunga area.
To tone leg muscles and build stamina, the boys undertook a 1000 Km cycling tour in Thar Desert, covering more than 100 Kms daily in December – January.
In February, to acclimatize them with extreme cold conditions, the boys spent 10 days in Ladhak walking upto Khardung La, one of the highest passes in the world, where they had to live through temperatures as low as minus 25 degrees Celsius at places.
Though the expedition is expecting for sponsorships, but parents of the students have come forward to meet the costs of the high risk adventure.
The 45 day Delhi to Delhi tour costs Rs 17.20 Lakhs per mountaineer, which includes Rs 5.60 Lakhs of royalty Nepal charges for permitting an assault on the highest peak from the south side of the mountain.
The expedition is scheduled to trek to Everest Base Camp by the 11-19 April week and start acclimatization before preparing to scale the mountain from May 5 to 25.
“We plan to put all seven boys at the top of the mountain and it will depend upon the weather window that is available,” says Rana.
Established in 1847, Lawrence School Sanawar in Kasauli Hills, the institution happens to be one of the oldest public schools founded in South Asia.
The expedition also reinforces our school motto about ‘Never Give In’, says Vashisht, the school headmaster.