8-year-old ‘mountain boy’ from Ongole hikes to second base camp of Mt. Ararat in Turkey

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Young mountaineer Akshaj Udaiwal and his mother V. Anuradha with the Indian flag, at the second base camp of Mount Ararat in Turkey.

Young mountaineer Akshaj Udaiwal and his mother V. Anuradha with the Indian flag, at the second base camp of Mount Ararat in Turkey.
| Photo Credit: HANDOUT

Eight-year-old Akshaj Udaiwal, hailing from Ongole, hiked up to the second base camp of the Great Ararat mountain, 4,200 metres above sea level, in Turkey.

Accompanied by his mother, V. Anuradha, the boy studying Class 3 started the trek on September 2, braving the hostile weather conditions and reached the first base camp, which is 3,200 meters above sea level.

The next day, he got acclimatized by reaching 3,800 metres above sea level before returning to the first base camp. On September 4, the mother-son duo resumed climbing to reach the second base camp of Mount Ararat, where they hoisted the tricolour at the height of 4,200 metres above sea level, Ms. Anuradha told The Hindu, proudly showing the certificate issued by the Mount Ararat authorities.

“It was very windy. Though the temperature was -6 degrees Celsius, it felt as though it was less than -11 degrees Celsius,” she said.

The boy, now residing in Muscat, had already made it to the Asia Book of Records and the India Book of Records for being the youngest to climb Mount Nangakarshang, Everest Region, Nepal (5,077 metres ) on April 28, 2022, when he was only 6 years and 11 months old.

He also received the ‘Honour of Appreciation’ from the India Book of Records for climbing the Chandrashila Summit in Uttarakhand (4,000 metres) on December 29, 2021. He was also the youngest to climb the Mount Everest Base Camp in Nepal (5,364 metres).

The ‘mountain boy’ won accolades under the mentorship of the Indian Army’s retired Colonel Pradeep Bist, who spotted the talent in him. Retired Lt. Colonel Romil Barthwal later honed his skills. Not to rest on past laurels, Akshaj aims to hike to Annapurna Base Camp in Nepal in 2024.

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