Back home alive, Indian climber explains what went wrong on Mount Everest

NEW DELHI : There was just one thought going through Parth Upadhyay’s mind before starting out on his ascent to the Mount Everest on May 22. How will he climb the remaining 2,000 feet? Every little task such as wearing socks, tying shoelaces or zipping the boots made him tired at that altitude. But after nine years of dreaming and two years of Everest training, it all boils down to the final summit night.

It took him one grueling hour to just get ready for the summit push. But to Upadhyay’s surprise, he felt more energetic and walked much faster during the summit night than the past two months of acclimatisation. Not only was he an hour ahead of everyone but he also had the whole route to himself. After climbing the three main iconic landmarks on the route, he reached the summit pyramid around 3:30am. His Sherpa Funaru Dai told him that they will reach before sunrise and perhaps they should slow down. Moving at a snail’s pace, Upadhyay made it to the summit at 5 am and saw a perfect sunrise from the top of the world.

The sunrise from the top of the world as seen by Parth Upadhyay

Upadhyay along with seven other mountaineers started their ascent on April 8. It took them eight days to reach the Everest Base camp. The next 30 days were spent in acclimatisation, done in multiple rotations. This is basically going uphill and then coming down to lower altitude so that the climber gets used to oxygen-starved heights. The whole process of acclimatisation was completed around May 10 and everyone was waiting for a good weather window which came only on May 23.

But Upadhyay’s successful expedition has been overshadowed by the “overcrowded” Everest season. A photo from May 21 of a long line of mountaineers struggling to make their way to the top of Mount Everest had gone viral last month. It was when good weather forecast drove around 250 out of the 381 climbers, and almost as many Sherpas, to attempt to scale the summit all at once, proving fatal for many.