14 Prakasam youth prove their mettle in mountaineering

The team scaled 5289-metre Mt. Friendship peak in the Pir Panjal range.

Members of GenX in the Prakasam district have made it big in mountaineering by scaling the 5289-metre Mt. Friendship peak in the Pir Panjal range in Himachal Pradesh.

Traversing the difficult terrain of alpine meadows and dense forests under subzero temperature, the team of 14, in the age group of 13-18, successfully made it to the summit on May 19, their coach R. Parameshwar Reddy said, on their return to Ongole.

“There were avalanches on two days and the temperature was hovering between -4° C and -13° C. But the youth kept their nerves and did it,” said Mr. Reddy. Three of the mountaineers – K. Bharat Kumar, D. Pujita and K. Karthik – are students of Next Gen International School here, where the late ace mountaineer Malli Mastan Babu’s sister Malli Dorasanamma had started rock climbing facility.

Inspired by Mastan Babu

It was Mr. Babu, a Guinness Book record maker, who visited scores of schools in Prakasam and Nellore districts and sowed the seeds of adventure sports in the young minds. He was a huge inspiration for these youth, who hail from remote villages like Veligandla, Ulavapadu, Addanki and Chimakurthi in the district. Mr. Babu gained popularity when he broke the record by summiting seven peaks of the seven continents in 172 days in 2006. He died on one of his mountaineering adventures in the Andes in 2015.

Riding on the crest of success, the youth bubbling with enthusiasm, said, “We will attempt to scale Mt. Everest next year.” Three of them, M. Harshavardhan, M. Bhargav and G. Dheeraj, were part of the four-member team from Prakasam district that scaled the 5250-metre Shatidhar peak last year.

The group, including two girls D. Pujita and S. Sherley, had been training at Narasimhakonda in Nellore district and Kondaveedu Hills in Guntur district before honing their skills in ice climbing and snow climbing at the Atal Behari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports in Manali.

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