Bishop’s students return from life-changing climb to Everest base camp

PUNE: It was an experience of a lifetime for seven students from the Bishop’s School, Camp, when they successfully climbed up to the Mt Everest base camp. At 17,598 ft, they were able to truly value the comforts of home.

During their 11-day expedition, the team members did not have the luxuries of urban life – drinking water was freezing cold, there were no lights or fans where they halted each day, bedtime was 5.30 pm, food was as basic as rice and dal, and sometimes covering a distance of merely a kilometre took more than two hours.

The students, who were accompanied by two alumni, school staff members and an instructor, returned to Pune on Saturday after their successful base camp attempt. The expedition was organized as part of the school’s 150th year celebrations. The 14-member team, trained by adventure club instructor Sameer Patham, left for the expedition on April 26.

Sixteen-year-old Eshan Bhatt, who was part of the expedition, said, “Back home, we live in air-conditioned rooms, travel from one place to another in peace, eat a variety of food, have 24×7 electricity supply and take bath in hot water every day. Our journey to the Everest base camp made us realize what a comfortable life we live at home.”

School headmaster Joel Edwin, who was also part of the expedition, said that the experience changed the team’s perspective towards life. “We have come back with some great values and lessons that will enable us to lead a more meaningful life,” he said.

For instance, he said that the climbers learned how precious water is in their daily lives. “A bottle of warm drinking water cost Rs 350. So we had to drink the water from our bags, which was often freezing cold, and we had to consume close to five to six litres of water every day,” Edwin said.

The team took 11 days to reach the base camp and climb down. Of these, six days were utilized for climbing, two for acclimatizing and three for climbing down from the base camp. They reached base camp on the eighth day since it began from Lukla. The climbers got to spend about 30 minutes there. They sang the school song and hoisted the school flag.

Shantanu Kundu (14) said, “We were very fortunate climbers, as the weather really supported us. It would fluctuate throughout the day, but as we approached the base camp, it suddenly became favourable for climbing. Reaching the base camp was the most beautiful moment of the entire expedition.”

Thirteen-year-old Suryanarayan Krishnamurthi, who is waiting for his Std X exam results, said, “The temperature was the lowest at the base camp, but we did not feel the cold as we were too excited to be there. All our exhaustion and feeling of breathlessness due to the low oxygen level just vanished for those 30 minutes.”