Fight for funds to scale 7 summits

Nilachal Parida. Telegraph picture

Bhubaneswar: A city youth is on a mission to climb the highest points of the seven continents, popularly known as the Seven Summits. If he manages to achieve the feat, he will become the first person from the state to do so.

A professional driver, Nilachal Parida has completed his basic mountain climbing course at Pahalgam's Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering and Winter Sports.

The enthusiastic mountaineer is, however, facing financial crunch. The entire trip would cost him around Rs 1 crore, including basic training courses, climbing gears and equipment and guide fees.

"I have been running from pillar to post to arrange funds. I have managed around Rs 15 lakh from private sponsors, but support from social organisations and the government would be of great help," he said.

He has also climbed Avimas (15,700ft), which is the highest point in Himachal Pradesh. He then completed three trek summits in Jammu and Kashmir covering a height of 12,500ft. Parida has also travelled to Bengal's highest point Sandakphu, which is located at a height of 11,930 ft. He was also a part of the state government sponsored Biju Patnaik Himalayan expedition.

Parida is now undergoing a month-long high-level course in mountaineering in Kashmir. As part of the training, he would also be scaling a height of 20,000ft.

"After the training, I will be back in Odisha and spend around 15 days before heading for the Seven Summit expedition," he said.

He will start climbing the Kilimanjaro in Africa on October 27. Next year he plans to conquer Aconcagua in Argentina on January 1, Mount Everest on March 28 and Elbrus in Europe on August 8.

In 2020, he plans to scale Denali in North America, Vinson Massif in Antarctica and Puncak Jaya or Carstensz Pyramid in Indonesia.

Parida knows his target is not easy, particularly when he is constrained by fund shortage. The responsibility of taking care of his family consisting of his mother, elder brother and younger sister is also on him. "I have to earn to run my family and simultaneously arrange funds for my expedition," he said.

He, however, admitted that his passion for mountaineering is the only driving force in his life and Parida knows how to climb past obstacles.


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