Ajeet Bajaj, Managing Director, Snow Leopard Adventures and Senior Vice President, ATOAI, achieved the feat of climbing Mount Everest with his daughter Diya Bajaj. Referring to the adventure as a life-changing expedition, Bajaj shares his Everest journey in an exclusive interview with TRAVTALK.
It was a proud and emotional moment for Ajeet Bajaj and his daughter Diya to unfurl the Indian tricolour on Mount Everest, with whom he has been training since years for the significant climb.
Training and preparation
Before planning to climb the Everest, one needs to train hard and be fit, claims Bajaj. “We have prepared for the expedition for exactly a year. We did four preparatory expeditions before venturing for the world’s highest summit. We did two expeditions to Ladakh, one to Nepal and one to the French Alps,” he shared. He added, “It’s very important to be physically fit and prepare with a determination. You need the right equipment before you leave and it’s very important to go with a good operator.”
It was a long journey to the summit, shared Bajaj. He revealed, “The expedition itself took us around 45 days. We climbed from the northern side from Tibet. We flew to Nepal on April 10, and then on to Lhasa on April 13. We were blessed that the mountain goddess showered her blessings on us and we were able to face the hardships with a smile, coming back safe and happy.”
“The two biggest challenges are high altitude and extreme cold. We climbed through the night because that is when the conditions are more stable. It took us 20 hours to get to the summit and descend safely to the North Col at 23,000 ft,” shared Bajaj. He continues, “About an hour and a half before the summit, my oxygen mask malfunctioned and froze completely. That was the moment of truth for me because my daughter was with me. We were climbing together as a buddy pair, but I had to take a decision. Diya was climbing at a fast pace, and one cannot wait when the temperatures are -40 or -45 degrees celsius. I had to take that hard decision to let her carry on with her Sherpa, on whom we had full confidence and faith.”
Taste of victory
Bajaj proudly said that it was his daughter Diya who reached the summit first. “Diya got to the summit and I was lucky to have a spare mask, which we were able to change and carry on. I got to the summit 15 minutes after my daughter. We were the first daughter-father team to have reached the summit. Getting there after the initial euphoria, you realise that you have to go down, which is always the more tricky bit of mountaineering. We were lucky that we were able to come back down safely, having had an experience of a lifetime,” said Bajaj.
Words of Wisdom
- One needs to train oneself hard and be extremely fit before attempting the extreme expedition
- Ajeet Bajaj assured that he’d be happy to extend support to anybody in every way possible who is up for the challenge