Priyanka Mohite, 26, has recently climbed the fourth highest mountain in the world – Mt Lhotse.
Satara- based Mohite is known for becoming youngest mountaineer from Maharashtra for climbing Mt Everest at the age of 21. She also created a record by becoming the third youngest Indian to do so. Apart from this, she has also done some other expeditions like Kamalgadh, Rajgadh, Harishchandra gadh, Ratangadh in Maharashtra and Mt Kilimanjaro.
At such a young and tender age, she has already achieved so many achievements that age looks just like a number in front of her.
Team iTvara speaks to Priyanka Mohite about her journey and her future plans.
Here are the edited excerpts: –
What inspired you to become a mountain climber?
I am from Maharashtra and we have Sahayadri mountain ranges here and I used to go there when I was around 6-7 years old and we always used to go for trekking to know the history and interestingly we started enjoying it. Gradually from being a trekker, I turned to be a rock climber.
I got in touch with a coach and he encouraged me to climb the Himalayas. I got myself enrolled in a training institute and that is how my journey of being a rock climber started.
I did my advanced course in mountaineering in 2012. Soon after completing some small treks like Bandarpoonch, I got a selection call for Mt Everest expedition. And since then there has been no looking back.
At what age you decided to become a mountaineer?
I was just 17 years old when I started exploring the Himalayas.
Elaborate on what sort of courses and training have you undergone?
I have done basic and advanced mountaineering course from Nehru Institute of Mountaineering.
Have you ever faced any obstacles in the path of completing the expeditions?
Mt Everest and Mt Kilimanjaro, I completed in the first attempt but I could not complete the expedition to Mt Elbrus, which is the highest peak in Europe, due to the bad weather but in the second attempt, it was a success. And similarly, I tried for Mt Lhotse in 2014 but due to a huge avalanche, Nepal government canceled the expedition. Despite trying hard in 2015, I could not summit Mt Lhotse because of the massive earthquake and aftershocks that hit Nepal.
You have set a target of scaling one mountain every year. How do you manage your job and finances?
Financially, I am not that strong. I generally depend on the sponsors to sponsor my expeditions. I work as a Research Associate in Bengaluru and my company has always been very supportive as far as my expeditions are concerned.
Along with this, a strict fitness regime keeps me motivated. I work out for 2 hours daily in the evening and during weekends, I go to Maharashtra to do small treks carrying heavy loads.
Can you please explain the feeling of completing the summit?
The feeling is like way beyond words. I feel way awesome as your hard work pays off. It is a very beautiful moment and as soon as I reach the summit, I generally get very emotional as after crossing many hurdles like weather, mental pressures, financial issues, job problems I reach the final destination.
How do you prepare yourself for the expeditions?
I undergo very hard training. I generally focus on strength and long distance uphill running in the gym and go trekking whenever in Maharashtra.
What changes have you observed in yourself after becoming a mountaineer?
I have become very loyal to myself and have become very humble. I have become very patient and no situation looks difficult. Now I feel that there is a solution to every problem in the world. Confidence is another thing which has been boosted.
Elaborate on your future plans.
There are 14 mountains which are more than 8,000 meters out of which five we are not allowed to climb, so I am looking forward to climbing all the nine at the earliest possible. Next, I am deciding between Mt Kanchenjunga and Mt Makalu.
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