Illustration: Shyam G Menon

Illustration: Shyam G Menon

Love Raj Singh Dharmshaktu, the Indian mountaineer who has climbed Everest five times, left for Nepal on April 4 to attempt climbing the world’s highest peak yet another time.

This will be Love Raj’s eighth visit to Everest.

He was on the peak previously in 1998, 1999, 2001, 2006, 2009, 2012 and 2013.

He reached the top successfully in 1998, 2006, 2009, 2012 and 2013.

He was conferred the Padma Shri award in 2014 (for more on Love Raj please see https://shyamgopan.wordpress.com/2014/07/10/everest-to-the-east/).

Speaking to this blog before he left for Kathmandu, Love Raj said that finding sponsors had been tough this year and so his climb will be self supported.

Over the years as his experience on the mountain grew, Love Raj had begun counting less and less on external assistance for his work on the mountain. In 2013, he said, he had availed help only on summit day, that too because the job of taking a photograph on the summit as proof of having reached it is a lot easier with one more person along.

This year, the resource crunch has been much harder and therefore the plan is to do the entire climb without any external assistance. He will do the camping, cooking and climbing by himself.

It won’t be a solo climb; it will be a self supported climb.

The actual climb from base camp should commence past April 15, 2015, he said.

May is usually the favoured month for reaching the top of Everest.

This time too Love Raj will be doing his bit to improve awareness about the environment and spread the message of keeping the mountain clean.

UPDATE: Following the devastating April 2015 earthquake in Nepal and the subsequent closure of Mt Everest, Love Raj’s planned attempt was called off. He was at Everest Base Camp when the earthquake hit. He returned to Delhi in May.

(The author, Shyam G Menon, is a freelance journalist based in Mumbai.)

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