Andhra mountaineer plans private expedition to Everest


Kathmandu : Hyderabad lad Bachinepally Shekhar Babu plans to put together a team of Indian climbers and lead the subcontinent’s first private expedition to the world’s tallest peak, Mount Everest.

Support TwoCircles

In June, 27-year-old Babu became the second individual to climb the peak on his own.

Most of the expeditions to the Everest are either from the army, navy, air force or Indo-Tibet Border Police but Babu found a software company, Tanla Solutions, ready to fund a part of his expedition this autumn.

Babu, a joint manager at Andhra Pradesh Tourism Board (APTB) in Hyderabad, had a harrowing time when he tried to get sponsors for his first Everest ascent, which cost over Rs.10 million and left him deep in debt.

However, he feels India is now poised for a change. From cricket, corporate houses — especially software companies and call centres — are turning to adventure sports as part of their perks for executives.

“APTB has 65 resorts and I myself have been organising adventure outings for corporates who want to give a good time to their employees,” Babu told IANS.

“Executives are now turning to rock-climbing, trekking and water sports during their holidays. It makes a nice change from sitting in front of the computer eight hours a day.”

In a country where most youngsters want to become cricketers or tennis players, Babu remains doggedly devoted to the mountains.

His aim is now to climb as many of the 14 peaks in the “Death Zone” — over 8,000 metres — as possible.

In October, he was the only Indian among the Himalayan peaks on the Nepal-Tibet border and climbed Mt. Shisha Pangma, the 14th highest peak (8,013 metres).

Though he had to abandon his plan to scale Mt. Cho Oyu, the sixth highest peak at 8,201 metres, due to bad weather, he plans to return in March 2008 to climb two more 8,000-metre peaks, Mt. Lhotse and Mt. Makalu.

At the same time, he stays in touch with the Indian mountaineering training institutes.

“When some of our clients like rock-climbing and ask how they can do more, we refer them to these training institutes,” he says.

“Now I am going to remain in touch with them and gauge the interest levels of new climbers. It will take time but I think we can network and form a private team to attempt Mt. Everest.”