Pune city’s 14-year-old mountaineer Sai Sudhir Kawade achieved a rare feat this Republic Day as he scaled 4,370 metres despite adverse weather conditions to reach the base camp of Mount Aconcagua in South America, the second highest mountain peak in the world. Being an ardent mountaineer, Sai aims to trek all the highest peaks in the seven continents.
“As per the plans, the team left Mumbai on January 11. Sai, being a minor, needed legal approval per the rules and regulations of mountaineering in Argentina. A week later, the court in Argentina granted the legal terms and procedures and Sai started the expedition on January 17,” said Sudhir Kawade, Sai’s father.
Accompanied by fellow mountaineers Dr Seema Patil and Ambadas Gaikwad, Sai’s team made their way through the hard patches of the Puente del Inca camp and Confluencia camp to reach the Plaza De Mulas base camp at the height of 4,370 metres after two days.
“The climate was affected due to a recent snowstorm, the temperature was between -20°C to -30°C and the velocity of the wind was really high as the sea surrounds the mountain. The expedition was first halted for three days but when the climate did not improve, the doctor and the rangers’ guide decided to cease the campaign at camp three and not ascend any further,” added Kawade.
Although the weather proved to be a spoilsport, Sai unfurled the Tricolour at the Plaza De Mulas base camp on January 26 to celebrate the nation’s 74th Republic Day.
The eighth grader of Bharti Vidyapeeth School has been an ardent mountaineer and has climbed the Stoke Kangri Peak, the Kilimanjaro peak in Africa and the Elbrus peak in Europe as well as completed the Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon last year to list a few. For his expeditions, Sai received financial assistance from Triyama Legal, Punit Balan Group’s Oxyrich, MBA and Lions Club Pune.
“Sai next aims to ascend Mount Denali in North America. His determination and passion for mountaineering have many supporters as well as fans. Youngsters now look up to him as an inspiration to take up the sport. We hope to get him the due attention for his devotion to mountaineering,” said Kawade.