Mumbai cop’s journey to Everest as tribute to mother

Navi Mumbai policeman becomes third from the force in Maharashtra to scale world’s highest mountain

Assistant police inspector Sambhaji Gurav from the quick response team of the Navi Mumbai Police has become the third policeman from Maharashtra to climb Mount Everest. He has dedicated his achievement to his mother who had passed away in early 2018, and after reaching the peak on May 23, he unfurled a poster that said ‘Respect women’.

In December 2017, Mr. Gurav had finished his first trek to the base camp of the Everest but had to return after his mother got a brain stroke and was hospitalised. “She was in the hospital for two months before breathing her last. I stayed with her, read a lot on her condition, and realised that she had been showing symptoms for the last six months, but no one noticed them,” Mr. Gaurav, who hails from Sangli, told The Hindu.

He said, “We often take our mothers for granted and ignore the struggle they go through. After she died, I did not conduct her final rites, but instead promised myself to go through physical hardship in order to pay homage to her. The guilt in me helped prepare myself in the last two years and finally, I could achieve this.”

Mr. Gaurav along with nine others started the base camp trek on April 9 and on its successful completion after nine days, only five of them could go ahead. Of the five, some turned out to be COVID-19 positive while some fell ill due to adverse weather conditions. The final summit climb began on May 18, and he reached the peak of Everest on May 23.

The first challenge for Mr. Gurav was the low oxygen. “Usually, the oxygen level is above 95% but from the base camp itself it came down to 70%. Towards the final summit, it dropped to 30%. We had to carry a portable oxygen cylinder,” Mr. Gurav said.

Another challenge was the wind speed while climbing the final summit. “ It was approximately 40 kmph against the recommended wind speed of 25-30 kmph. Since we did not have an option to go back, we climbed on and scaled the world’s highest mountain,” he said.

The entire expedition, he said, cost him around ₹25 lakh. “The former Navi Mumbai Commissioner of Police, Sanjay Kumar, had been my great support. He spread the word in the department and outside due to which many people came forward to help me fund the trek,” Mr. Gurav added.

After he reached the peak, Mr. Kumar tweeted, “API Sambhaji Gurav scaled Mt Everest on 23/5 at 6.30hrs. We are proud of him. This is win of his undaunted courage, commitment and dedication. Congratulations to him and his family. (sic)”

For completing the journey, Mr. Gurav said three things were important: physical, mental and financial capability.

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