A fifteen-year-old, Harshvardhan Joshi from Vasai near Mumbai often dreamt about climbing the hills. Working in a startup of Computer Solutions, he met a few doctors who would often invite him on treks around the city. Soon, the views from the top became his sanctity and climbing his dream. As time passed, the boy grew into a young adult enrolled in an engineering college where he found back his happiness when he discovered a trek in Uttarakhand. That was the starting point of it all which pushed Harsh to realise his long lost passion. As the taste of trekking rekindled, it took the shape of endless love for the ranging shadowy mountains, in particular, Mount Everest.
“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.” – T.S.Elliot
A Step Towards Professionalism
Soon after his solo treks, with his saved up earnings, he enrolled into Jawahar Institute Of Mountaineering in Jammu and Kashmir. After that, there was no stopping the boy’s dedication to his passion. Harsh completed his advanced mountaineering training along with certifications in Method of Instruction as well as Search and Rescue. At a tender age, the mountains called out to him, and Harsh was adamant about answering their calls. With time, he had climbed over 6000 metres over 20 times with peaks including Mount Stok Kangri, Mt. Mentok Kangri, Mount Deo Tibba and Mount Golep Kangri to name a few.
By 2017, Harsh had enrolled into skiing courses from basic to advanced as well as Wilderness First responder course from NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) USA in 2018. He soon acted as the lead guide to the Indian Air Force in a mountain expedition in Ladakh in the winter of 2018-2019. Befriending the jarring climatic conditions, he took up the role of a freelancer helping the unprivileged people cross the mountainous paths for free.
A Small Token To Nature
However, the thrill of the climb drove him to pursue professional mountaineering not only as an art but a help to the society as well. With the determination to play his part, Harsh focussed on promoting adventure with sustainability. Establishing various eco-tourism camps across villages in Maharashtra, he kept going back to the Himalayas for 4-years to help NGOs promote Impact Tourism. It not only involved educating the locals but also helped people sustainably grow their small businesses.
The Mission To The Top
At the age of twenty-four now, Harsh has finally heard his call from the mountains yet again. The Himalayas have called him to ace the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest. With his longing to achieve the length of the mountain and his desire to have his name up as a professional mountaineer, Everest remains his ultimate destination. The path that a hundred mountaineers have walked, the aim is to discover the mystery remains why they climb. From its base to the summit, Everest shows one that reason. However, being a young millennial from a small town has long disrupted his ways.
The 63-days expedition up Everest is known to be one of the most expensive mountaineering experiences priced over 30 lakhs rupees. With the payment of 10 lakh rupees to the Nepalese Government for the climbing permit, liaison fees, environment fees, garbage fees and icefall fees. Moreover, the hiring of a Nepalese Sherpa is mandatory for the climb. The cost of the mountaineering gear and the high-altitude clothing ranges up to 5-lakhs. For a mere engineer striving to keep his passion alive, even ten years of savings from the age of fifteen still seems far-fetched.
Yet, they say that with belief, dedication and patience, one can achieve it all. In the face of hardship, Harsh’s heart becomes more resolute towards Mount Everest. With the strength of support from his family and his struggle to achieve greatness, Harsh writes, “I am a minimalist at heart, and I want to show the world that we can learn to live with the bare minimum.” At the alarming environmental conditions, Harsh has planned his trip with solar energy for his consumption through the expedition. Nevertheless, the heart for doing the good comes at a hefty price which is rather difficult for a boy from a middle-class Indian family.
A Helping Hand
An inspiring step ahead and with the pride of India at heart, Harshvardhan continues journeying his Sangharsh (struggle). With a helping hand or two, the young 24-year-old is certain to take the world by storm and become the first person to ace Mount Everest from Vasai, Palghar district, Maharashtra.
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