76-year-old Harnath Tipirineni, a retired surgeon and emergency medicine specialist, showed the world that age is just a number when he conquered the Everest Base Camp with a group of men 30 years younger than him.
Dr. Harnath’s love for mountainous regions made him go trekking to places like Adi Kailash, the Pindari glacier, Mansarovar and Mount Kailash when he was much younger.
But in his latest trip, he decided to take one step forward to explore mountaineering as well.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia
Everest base camp refers to two base camps on opposite sides of the summit. The 5,364m high South Base Camp is in Nepal, and the 5,150m high North Base Camp is in Tibet. Dr. Harnath went for the South Base Camp.
While the base camp is considered to be a destination for amateur mountaineers, climbing it is also highly risky. Loose boulders roll down the slopes and being hit by them can be fatal. For Dr. Harnath, the risk was even higher because no company was ready to provide him with insurance at this age. “If one gets injured in the mountains, the only way to get back is to be air-lifted. So I wanted insurance, but nobody would give it to me,” he told The Hindu. Amateur mountaineers consider the Everest Base Camp as the first step to the Seven Summits – the highest mountains of each of the seven continents. 5,895 m high Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain of Africa, is just 500 m higher than the Everest Base Camp.
Dr Harnath spends about four months in India and the rest of the year he is in Chicago where he retired. After finishing his schooling from Pasumarru village in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh, he went on to study medicine.
He was also a source of encouragement for many young climbers. “We passed several young IT professionals who were struggling on the way to Base Camp. I encouraged several of them who wanted to turn back, showing them Dr. Harnath,” said Mr Phani Bandreddi, who was also in the group along with Dr. Harnath.