Geek in love with peaks eyes 7 summits

Software engineer-turned-Everester on how health blips & mishaps couldn't deter him

By ACHINTYA GANGULY
  • Published 24.07.17
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Satyarup Siddhanta speaks about his experiences in Ranchi on Saturday. Telegraph picture

Till 2003, Satyarup Siddhanta, the 34-year-old Bangalore-based techie, was crippled by asthma and couldn't even run 100 metres. Come December, he is set to scale Mount Vinson Massif, the highest peak in Antarctica.

Satyarup has already conquered the highest peaks of the remaining six continents, including the mighty Mount Everest, and has every reason to long for the rare feat of climbing the seven summits.

What makes the task doubly daunting is his ailment, but he is determined not to let it come in the way.

"I was totally dependent on inhalers and started overcoming this dependence by exercising and regulating my food habits while studying BTech at Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology," Satyarup told The Telegraph on Saturday.

"I don't use inhalers anymore and can even run 14km at a stretch," the boy from Berhampore in Bengal, who had come to Ranchi to deliver a lecture at the Institute of Engineers ( India), Jharkhand State Centre, said.

During his stay in Bangalore, where he took up a job as a software engineer in 2005 and is currently employed with Brady International, Satyakam used to trek a lot and had once gone to the base camp with Everest-bound mountaineers. Enthralled by the mystic grandeur of the mountain, he decided to become a mountaineer.

There has been no looking back since then.

After completing a course at Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling, he went on to conquer the peaks one after the other since 2012, including Mt Kilimanjaro (Africa) in June 2012, Mt Elbrus (Europe) in June 2013, Mt Aconcagua (South America) in January 2014, Mt Denali (North America) in June 2014, Mt Kosciuszko (Australia) in June 2015 and finally Mt Everest (Asia) in June 2016.

"I also climbed a few others, including Mont Blanc in France in September 2014 and Carstensz Pyramid in Indonesia in June this year," he added.

He has missed death by a whisker twice during his Everest expedition. Once he slipped into a crevice and kept dangling from a rope for about 15 minutes till his friends rescued him. His oxygen mask acted up when he was just 10 minutes shy of summiting.

"But miracles do happen and I am still alive to tell you this," Satyarup said, explaining how he convinced his sherpa to lend his oxygen mask. Death could wait.

The sherpa later told him that his oxygen mask surprisingly became functional after he touched the summit because sunshine had cleared congestion in the connecting tube.

So, was that the most dangerous climb? "Not really. It was Mt Denali where we had to climb totally unguided while carrying a heavy backpack and pulling a sledge up to the third camp," he said.