It has been 10 years since Arjun’s incredible feat and he wanted to mark the anniversary by climbing Mount Everest once again along with the Annapurna massif (compact group of mountains) without oxygen and sherpa support. He was set and raring to go, but the lockdown, due to the fast-spreading coronavirus pandemic, forced him to cancel his plans.
But that didn’t stop Arjun from chasing his Everest dreams once again as he came up with a unique challenge – the ‘har ghar mein Everest challenge’ – during the lockdown.
Arjun completed the challenge by going up and down 324 times (162 times up and 162 times down) his 20-floor residential building in Noida to cover a total distance of 29,030 ft, which is the approximate height of Mt. Everest (29,029 feet is the official height recognised by Nepal and China).
Arjun lives in a building which has 20 floors. He calculated that the total number of steps he took to climb up 20 floors were 360 and the same number of steps to climb down the stairs. So, in one full round (up and down) he took 720 steps.
The total number of stairs he climbed (up and down) were 1,16,120 stairs (58,060 stairs up and the same down). He had to do 324 total rounds (up and down) to cover the full distance that was equivalent to the height of Mount Everest.
“This challenge (Har ghar mein Everest) can be done at home without the use of any equipment. All you need to do is climb stairs which are equivalent to the height of Mt. Everest, 29,030 ft. Mt. Everest can be scaled in a particular season. You can only climb Everest during April-May due to drastic weather and snow conditions throughout the year and because of the lockdown the plan was cancelled,” Arjun told Timesofindia.com in an exclusive interview.
“Since I couldn’t go to Everest, I thought of finding Everest at home,” Arjun said.
“I was not attempting any record. It was an attempt to (find) my inner strength and to see how much I can push my body. I have always been keen to test the limits of the human body and my profession as a professional mountaineer takes me to weather conditions where temperatures go as low as -80 degrees. I am not someone who chases records, I am always interested in challenging myself and testing what my body is capable of doing,” the 26-year-old said.
In May 2018, Arjun also became the youngest mountaineer in the world to scale six mountains out of a total of 14 eight-thousander peaks (over 8000m) in the world, when he scaled Mount Kanchenjunga, the third highest peak in the world.
“In a decade-long journey, which started from climbing Mt Everest, I scaled Mt. Lhotse and Mt. Manaslu in one single year (2011). In 2016, I reached the summits of Mt. Cho Oyu and Mt. Makalu. In 2018, I reached the summit of Mt. Kanchenjunga, India’s highest peak and world’s third highest mountain,” Arjun told TimesofIndia.com.
Arjun’s ultimate aim is to climb all 14 eight-thousanders in the world. He has scaled six mountains out of the 14 so far – Mt Everest (2010), Lhotse (2011), Manaslu (2011), Makalu (2016), Cho Oyu (2016) and Kanchenjunga (2018).
“There are fourteen 8000m and above mountains and till date only 43 Individuals have successfully climbed all 14 of them. There is no Indian on this list. In next 5 years, I want to become the only Indian to summit all 14 peaks in the world,” Arjun told TimesofIndia.com.
On being asked how he prepares himself before an expedition, Arjun said: “A mountaineer has to be prepared both physically and mentally when you are attempting such high mountains and going into such extreme weather conditions”.
“My physical training includes a lot of cardio muscular exercises and core strength building. For mental training, I constantly practise yoga,” Arjun signed off.