Everest climber Gaurav wants still more

Jamshedpur: After climbing the world`s highest peak Mt Everest in 2009 and then the 19,340-foot Mt Kilimanjaro in Africa last year, 28-year-old Gaurav Sharma now aims to conquer five other top summits of the world.

On his radar are Mt Acancagua (24,000 feet) in North America, Mt Denali (Mckinley) 22,000 feet in Alaska, US, Mt Elbrus (5,642 metres) in Europe, Mt Pyramid (5000 metres) in Australia and Mt Vinson (5,000 metres) in the Antarctica.

Sharma from Rajasthan, who was here recently to meet the first woman mountaineer to climb Mt Everest, Bachendri Pal, said, “I have planned to set out for Mt Acancagua in February next and am looking for sponsorship.“

Mountain climbing is a costly affair and it needs sponsorship, Sharma, a native of Churu, a small town and gateway to the Thar desert in Rajasthan, told PTI. Sharma said he had borrowed Rs 25 lakh for his Mt Everest expedition in May, 2009 and was still paying the instalments.

Asked if he had received any financial help from the Rajasthan government in repaying the instalments, he replied in the negative, but admitted he had been assured several times. He disagreed that it was difficult to get sponsorship for adventurous sports like mountaineering, but said it needed proper marketing like cricket.

“We have to present our sports properly like cricket did to bag sponsorships,“ he said claiming that scaling Mt Everest was no less than winning a gold in Olympics.

One way to achieve this, he said, was to take help of social network sites like facebook. He said he had estimated the cost for his five-peak expeditions to be in the region of Rs 44 lakh.

Sharma said he had convinced the Rajasthan government to bring an amendment to the sports policy of the government making provision for financial help to mountaineers. Following the amendment, the state government has agreed to allot 25 bighas of agricultural land to persons achieving the feat of scaling the world`s highest peak. He said he had been allotted such a plot at Mohangarh in Jaisalmer district.

Sharma has also scripted and produced a 40-minute documentary titled `On top of the world`. Besides this, he is currently engaged in writing two books entitled `Everest` and `Youth and Courage`.

Before climbing the Mt Everest, Sharma had been on the top of two other peaks Mt Kedardome (22,000 feet) in Garhwal in 2004 and Mt Kamet (25,000 feet) in 2005.