After having climbed mountains all over the world, Sanjay Pandit has once again added another mountain to his list of accomplishments with his expedition to the Antarctic mountain range.
Born in Pyuthan, he was inspired to run by his father, an avid volleyball player himself, from an early age. As a child, he and his brother would be given a trail to run every day at 6 in the morning by their father and this set him up to become the renowned runner and mountaineer he is today. Despite running from an early age, he only began his career as a runner in his early twenties after moving to Kathmandu for his higher studies and being inspired by South-Asian gold medalists Deepak Bista and Rajendra Bhandari.
After participating and holding incomparable track record, having ran various marathons such as the one from Kathmandu to Khasa in 11hours and 20 minutes. He was inspired to pursue mountain climbing after watching televised interview of renowned mountaineer, Aapa Sherpa and with his determination, he has conquered many mountains. Till date, he has climbed eleven mountains, all over the world—including Nepal’s very own Mt. Everest and the killer mountain, Mt. Manaslu.
He is also the first person to ever climb the African mountain Mt. Kilimanjarowithin twenty-five hours, and the Australian mountain Mt. Kosciuszko in five hours—from Threadbo, a small alpine village,to the very top—both backwards in daurasurwaland Dhaka topi.On why he decided to climb these mountains, his response was, “For people who’ve climbed Mt. Everest, these mountains are very easy to conquer, but I wanted to be more remarkable than those who’d climbed before me, thus I decided to climb them both backwards!”
Along with this another unique record in his mountaineering career is his record of 6 minutes and 30 seconds climb of Europe’s highest-peak, Mt. Elbrus half-naked.
When asked about his most memorable moment during this 24-day expedition, Sanjay says that it would have to be when their money ran short and they had to refrain from eating for three days straight.On the difficulties of his journey, he explains that it was the weather, the temperature, and the winds that would’ve decided their faith in Antarctica. “The 4,900m mountain of Antarctica wasn’t a difficult feat for someone like me, climbers who have already succeeded in climbing mountains like Mt. Everest, but it is, in that same sense, more difficult than Mt. Everest. If the weather had not favored us, there would’ve been no chance of survival,” he explains.“There’s two factors to the weather, the cold and the wind. Thankfully, the weather favored us, and we could quickly continue with our journey.”
In addition to that, there was also the difficulty in climbing between camps. “See, there are three camps in Antarctica’s mountain; the base camp, the low camp and the high camp. The difficulty between the low and high camp is the angle of elevation as it is almost 90 degrees.”, he explains.
The most difficult challenge of his journey, as hestates, was not the mountain range itself, but rather, the financing of his expedition. “There are two types of people who decide to climb in Antarctica, billionaires who want to see the South Pole, and mountain climbers like me. It is nearly impossible to afford climbing in this region with personal funding alone, unless you’re a billionaire.”
To fund his expedition, he needed at least60,000 to 70,000 U.S. dollars, with an additional 10,000,000 Nepali rupees for a personal guide. To aid his expedition, the government of Nepal provided him with some funds, but it wasnot sufficient. He had to mortgage his house and the land he owned for 500,000 rupees, and also received funds from some personal contacts. Along with this, he received important support and funding from some organizations like Samsung, IME, IMS Group, and Golden Gate College.
He planned and organized throughout 2016, and began his journey in 2017. And, despite all the hardships, he is proud of his accomplishment and grateful towards this journey. His advice tothose aspiring to achieve a similar feat like him is, “For anyone out there, I’d advise them to be focused. If there is anything you want to accomplish and be the best at, you need to be focused. If you dedicate yourself fully towards a goal, you will be successful, and you must continuously aim towards that one goal. In any field, if you continuously put effort in it for, say, ten to twelve years, you will become a big name in that field. May it be journalism, business, or even politics, if you dedicate yourself fully to that one field, you will succeed. If you let yourself wonder around many fields, you won’t be able to find success in any. So, stay focused.”
For now, Sanjay Pandit has planned to climb Australia’s ten peaks. Along with this, he plans to climb Mt. Everest once again, as well as open an educational mountaineering school to help others interested in mountaineering.We wish him luck for his future endeavors.