Sai is 10 years old, 5th standard of Bharti Bidyapith School, Mumbai. Known as a uniquely talented child with unbelievable interest and love for trekking. His first trek dates back to the age of four. He hasn't stopped since then, known to have conquered Elbarus of Russia and few other peaks at the homeland. His father is 36 years old and works at local cable communication while his mother is 30 and preparing for police entry.
We were lucky to hear about his many adventures when he visited us in our Pune store.
*As narrated by Pranjal Khatal (Sport Leader, Decathlon Amanora)
How did Sai get inspired to hike at such a young age?
Sai's father is also a hiker so they strongly believe that the passion is well endowed in their blood. From the time, Sai was very little, his father was a part of a local hiking group that easily created an environment that supported his passion to take flight. Every weekend, the father and son duo would go out for a local hike. As told by Sai's father, they weren't financially well-off to support multiple Himalayan Treks which is why they directly aimed at the highest trek in India, Stok Kangri.
After Summiting Stok Kangri, his mentor Anand Bhosle (founder of 360-degree explorer) showed him the dream of 7 summits which is now a bucket list for him to summit at a young age.
At what age did Sai start hiking and where did he go?
- Sai's first hike was at the age of four. He hiked Shivneri in Maharashtra with his father.
- His first Himalayan and high-altitude trek was at Stok Kangri in 2018 - he was eight years old then
- His second big achievement was Mt Kilimanjaro on 24th Jan 2019 at the age of 9
- And finally, Mt Elbrus in Russia on 15th August 2019 at the age of 10
Tell us a little bit about the Elbrus experience -
Mount Elbrus, also known as Europe's highest peak (higher than Mont Blanc) was a major destination is Sai's bucket list. Despite its formidable stature, Elbrus can be climbed by most, but it doesn’t come without challenge or commitment.The terrain is that of snowfields of blinding white and the weather like on all mountains can be harsh and unpredictable.
Sai went to Elbrus with his mentor Anand Bansode. The journey started on 9th August from India. They landed in Moscow on the 10th which was essentially rest day. On 11th August, they went to TRACECA to base camp via train. 12th and 13th was spent in acclimatization at the base camp and trekking to Pushtukov Rock. 14th August, they started to the summit at 10:30pm and finally completed the summit on 15th August at 7:30am. It's a common practice in Elbrus for Most climbers to rise around before or around midnight for the most rewarding day of the trip. The first few hours are spent climbing in the dark using head torches. Ideally, climbers should reach the summit by morning. Sai told us that the weather was extremely windy with snow up to his knees. He was a little exhausted from time to time but other teammates kept him motivated. He also found it a little hard to breathe because of the altitude. His favourite memory is from summit night when the weather was pretty much reliable and the 700 metres was very exciting, he experienced a massive adrenaline rush.
Was the climb difficult? What were some of the challenges he faced?
He had already done Kilimanjaro so Elbrus wasn't very difficult for him. One challenge or difficulty he faced was a headache before the day of the summit which led him to vomit but that gave him relief. The temperature was also very cold and ranged between -20 degree celsius to -50
How did Sai physically and mentally prepare himself for Elbrus?
- He would wake up at 6:00 am every morning and go for a 5km run
- He even did a practice hike to Sahyadri right before he attempted Elbrus
- When it came to diet, he wasn't really on any special diet. He just had regular chappati, sabji, legumes, dal, rice, dry fruits etc.
What equipment and gear did he carry for Elbrus?
- Quechua Trek 100 shoes
- Simond Mountaineering Pants with Gaiters
- Simond Gloves
- Quechua Down Jacket trek 100
- Makalu jacket
- Ski glares
- 2 trekking poles
- A head torch
What is his best memory from Elbrus?
When we asked him how he felt after conquering Elbrus, his humble answer was that he was feeling a little cold but satisfied, he danced a little. His best memory is however when they were singing the Indian national anthem at the top of Elbrus and shouting slogans to the likes of, "Bharat Mata ki Jai," "Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj ki Jay!"
What's the next peak for Sai?
In November - Mt. Axoncagua (South America) or Mt. Kosciuszko in Australia. Both are mountains from his list of 7 summits.
Note: Sai is looking for a sponsor for his next trip, if interested please get in touch immediately.