Harshvardhan Joshi, a 25-year-old from Navi Mumbai’s Vasai, has earned a name forvardhan himself in the mountaineering world. The mountaineer from Maharashtra managed to conquer Mt. Everest, the tallest mountain in the world, despite testing COVID positive.
Not only this, his entire expedition was eco-friendly to promote sustainability. He named his Everest mission, SangHarsh, meaning challenges. Remembering his days, Joshi said that he didn’t foresee the challenges he had to meet to achieve his dream. In fact reaching the Everest Base Camp was not easy.
As far as his COVID story goes, Joshi wasn’t much bothered feeling unwell. When he saw his team members coughing, he thought it was because of the change in weather conditions. But then, the news of COVID-19 reaching the Base Camp left him all stunned and worried. Before Joshi could realise, he and some of his team members also contracted the virus.
He explained that climbers catching the Khumbu Cough is quite common. It is named after the valley that leads to Everest and there’s not much difference from COVID symptoms. Since there were no Coronavirus-testing facilities at the base camp, things got difficult for them.
After he and others in his team started feeling sick, the wife of a team member flew with some rapid-antigen test kits. Telling about his feelings, Joshi said that he knew he had to get tested before the final phase of the journey begins.
On May 8, just a week before his summit plan, Joshi tested positive. Some doctors asked him to return but he wasn’t ready to give up so easily. His plans had already been cancelled once because of the pandemic. Joshi said that there was a lot at stake, and he wasn’t ready to let his training go to waste. Also, there was a huge financial load as well.
His expedition cost more than INR 60 lakh! After giving it a thought, Joshi decided to go ahead and complete his expedition. He decided to isolate himself but since he was asymptomatic, there was not much danger. His team was carrying extra oxygen, had a chopper and doctors, whichmprepared him mentally.
It took him five years of rigorous training to do what he has done. On May 23, Joshi conquered Everest and hoisted the flag of India!