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TSAF to support 16-year old mountaineering star Kaamya Karthikeyan’s maiden attempt to scale Mt Everest

Jamshedpur, March 29, 2024: Tata Steel Adventure Foundation (TSAF), India’s pioneering institution promoting adventure sports in the country, today proudly flagged off a new expedition to scale Mt Everest that includes one of India’s most successful and youngest mountaineer Kaamya Karthikeyan who will be making her maiden attempt to reach the summit of the world’s tallest peak at 29,031.7 ft. 

The team that also includes Kaamya’s father Commander S Karthikeyan of the Indian Navy was flagged off today by Chanakya Chaudhary, Vice President, Corporate Services, Tata Steel

The seven week-long expedition that will start from April 6 from Kathmandu is expected to be completed in last week of May. The expedition to Mt Everest summit requires long acclimatisation period at Everest Base Camp (EBC) for approx. 40-45 days including multiple rotations to higher camps. There are 4 camps after base camp enroute to the summit viz. camp 1 at 6,000 meter after crossing Khumbu icefall, camp 2 at 6400 mt, camp 3 at 7300 m and camp 4 (South Col), at an altitude of 7,950 mt where climbers have to wait before favourable weather provides a window for final summit push. Kaamya will reach Kathmandu on April 3, start the trek to EBC on 6th and reach there by April 13. She will then start the rotations and acclimatisation which lasts for more than a month-long period. She will climb higher and come back to Everest base camp twice before climbing to camp 4 for final summit push. The first rotation will be to Lobuche summit at an altitude of 6113 mt and second rotation will be till camp 3. She will then start climbing till camp 3, move to camp 4 during the day once the weather window opens and try for the summit push which is expected to be in the week of 17th to 23rd May. Apart from her own efforts, with everyone blessings, wishes and favourable conditions, post summit, she will trek back to Lukla and fly back to Kathmandu by 29th May.

For Kaamya, while this is her first attempt at the summit of Mt Everest in this younger age, it is not the first major mountaineering endeavour. Kaamya has already scaled the highest mountains across 5 continents in the world (refer to the table appended), many of which are considered a challenge for even healthy and fit adults. She has also summitted many Himalayan peaks, which also include a visit to the Everest Base Camp at the age of nine years.

Chanakya Chaudhary said: “Mountaineering is one of the toughest popular sports in the world and it requires a very demanding regimen for the serious-minded aspirants. To see a young sport star like Kaamya, who has already achieved what may take more than one lifetime for most of us, is truly astonishing and encouraging at the same time. She is already a phenomenon in the global mountaineering circuit. We are delighted to welcome Kaamya and are proud to support her first attempt to scale the mother of all summits, the Mt Everest. I wish Kaamya all the best.”

Kaamya’s attempt to scale Mt Everest will be supported by her father Commander S Karthikeyan, an accomplished mountaineer himself who will be accompanying her on this great adventure. 

In October 2017, following her success on the 20187 ft high Mt. Stok Kangri at just nine years of age, Kaamya embarked on the ultimate mountaineering challenge, “The Explorers Grand Slam”, a mission to climb the highest peak in all seven continents and ski to the North and South poles, aptly named mission SAHAS. She is endeavouring to complete it by 2025, to become the youngest in the world to achieve the feat at just 17 years of age. The current record is held by Japan’s Marin Minamiya at 20 years of age and only 73 mountaineers (including 14 women) have completed the Explorers Grand Slam till date.

Inspired by her father’s mountaineering activities, Kaamya started trekking in the Sahyadris or Western Ghats from a tender age of three. Her Himalayan odyssey started at the age of seven, with Kaamya embarking on a high-altitude trek to Chandrashila Peak (12,000 ft) in 2015. In 2016, she graduated to more difficult and higher treks like Har-ki Dun (13,500 ft), Kedarkantha Peak (13,500 ft) and Roopkund Lake (16,400 ft). In May 2017, Kaamya trekked to the Everest Base Camp in Nepal at 17,600 ft to become the second youngest girl in the world to accomplish the feat. In May 2019, she successfully trekked to the famous Brighu Lake (14,100 ft) and crossed the Sar pass (13,850 ft) in Himachal Pradesh. She undertakes regular trekking in the Sahyadri ranges of Maharashtra and motivates many young children to join her.

Identifying Kaamya’s strength and adaptability at high altitude, she was exposed to extreme high altitude at a very young age. In August 2017, at 9 years of age, Kaamya climbed Mt. Stok Kangri at 20,187 ft to become the youngest girl in the world to climb a peak above 20,000 ft. In August 2019, Kaamya successfully summited Mt Mentok Kangri II (20,544 ft) in Ladakh, her second climb above 6,000 m, proving her ability to repeatedly endure to reach such heights. She recently summited the highly technical Mt. Kang Yatse 1 (21,000 ft) under the aegis of TSAF.

Kaamya is the recipient of the prestigious Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Shakti Puraskar, the highest national award for citizens below 18 years, for accomplishing many unprecedented mountaineering feats at a very tender age including world records as under:

(a)        Youngest girl in the world to summit a peak above 20,000 ft.

(b)        Youngest girl in the world to summit Mt. Aconcagua.

(c)        Youngest girl in the world to ski down from the summit of Mt. Elbrus.

(d)        Youngest non-American to summit Mt. Denali.

The following notable climbs of Kaamya to the highest points on five continents are truly inspirational for the young and emergent India:

(a)South AmericaMt. Aconcagua, Argentina (Feb 20)22,837 ftYoungest girl in the world to summit Mt. Aconcagua (World Record)
(b)AfricaMt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania (Oct 17)18,652 ftSecond youngest girl in Asia to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro
(c)EuropeMt. Elbrus, Russia (Jun 18)18,510 ftYoungest girl in the world to ski down from the summit of Mt. Elbrus (World Record)
(d)AustraliaMt. Kosciuszko, Australia (Oct 18)7,310 ft 
(e)North AmericaMt. Denali, Alaska, USA20,308 ftYoungest Non-American to summit Mt. Denali

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