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Journey to Mt. Everest 2013

After joining Indian Administrative Services in 2011, he got Sikkim as his Cadre and subsequently, he came to know that the state was devastated by Sikkim Earthquake in September 2011, which took many lives. He decided to learn mountaineering, when he came to know that local mountaineers also helped in rescue operation during the earthquake.The wish to reach and serve the people at grass-root level in emergency situation like earthquake motivated him to learn mountaineering, which subsequently, developed into his zeal to climb the highest peak of the world, Mt. Everest. Born and brought up in plains and having spent long time at sea, he was totally unfamiliar with hills and mountains but once decided, he started preparing for climbing and did training courses from Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (Darjeeling) after joining Sikkim in July 2012.

Mr. Kumar is the first and only IAS Officer of India, who has climbed Mt. Everest. He came to Sikkim those days for one year of District Training, which is part of overall training of IAS Officers before joining respective cadre state as full-fledged officer. He continued his preparation for climbing as well as effort for getting government sponsorship along-with his district training in Sikkim and within one year of district training period in Sikkim, he successfully reached on the top of the highest peak of the world on 19th May 2013. Mt. Everest was his first peak, which he climbed in spite of advice from many people that it’s very dangerous to try Mt. Everest at first instance and so, he should first try few smaller peaks.His view of the world from the top of Mt. Everest: “While standing on the highest point of the Earth; it’s fascinating to see the boundless Earth in its round form. Facing towards India, on the left side- you see mighty Mt. Kanchenjunga, on the right side- Mt. Makalu and at the back- the vast Tibetan plateau. The limitless horizon on all sides, under your own two eyes, gives you the feeling that the mother Earth doesn’t know its boundary….alas if it would have been a reality… a country less, boundaries & so, ever peaceful earth…!”

Journey to Mt. Everest 2019

Shri Ravindra Kumar, an IAS Officer of Uttar Pradesh Cadre who had already conquered Mt. Everest in 2013, has scaled it again on 23rd May 2019 at 4.20 am early morning. Being posted in Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation in Government of India as Private Secretary to Hon’ble Minister for last one and half years, he focused mainly on water sector and climbed Everest to give a call to people of India from the top of the world towards urgent need of controlling Water pollution, saving Rivers and other sources of waters and ensuring availability of Clean Water to All. He named his expedition as “Swachh Ganga Swachh Bharat Everest Abhiyaan 2019” and carried Ganga Jal to the highest peak of the world and offered there to attract attention of people of India because River Ganga provides water to almost 50 crore people of India and so, Ganga Jal can be taken as symbol representing all water sectors of India.

Mr. Kumar is the first and only IAS Officer of India, who has climbed Mt. Everest.
His first scale of Everest in 2013 from Nepal (south) route was inspired by Sikkim Earthquake of 2011, where mountaineers were called for search and rescue mission post earthquake in Sikkim. His second Everest Expedition in 2015 was organized with a mission to spread awareness about importance of Sanitation in India through ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’, which was flagged off by Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi Ji. During that expedition, he faced Nepal Earthquake and Avalanche at Everest Base Camp on 25th April 2015, which caused huge damage to life and property; but in spite of endangering his own life in the process, he saved many lives. With this year’s successful climb from China (North) route, he has became one of the few distinguished Indians, who has scaled Everest from both Nepal and China route, which are two major routes for climbing Everest.

In the present scenario, focus on Water Sector especially Drinking Water is one of the major need of the hour, because as per NITI Ayog’s report titled ‘Composite Water Management Index’ of June 2018, Delhi and other 21 cities in India would run out of groundwater by 2020, affecting 100 million people. Other than the urban population, 85 percent of the rural population is dependent on ground water for drinking, and more than 100 districts spread across India are affected by contaminated water.
Many other water sources are contaminated with both biological and chemical pollutants. Many rivers are nearly dying due to the discharge of pollutants and lack of continuity due to insufficient water. The ground water table is declining and creating a ground for the future water crisis.

According to a report, due to above factors, India is facing water crisis of historic proportions, with significant chunk of the population—grappling with either severe water shortages or polluted water supplies contaminated with bio and chemical pollutants, and so, as per world bank report, over 21% of the country’s diseases are water-related. So, about two lakh people die every year due to inadequate access to safe water. Further, the Water crisis is not isolated in itself, it would also threaten food security as over 80 percent of the total water used in India is used for agriculture. Over and above this, we must not forget that two-thirds of our body is made up of water itself. So, we can imagine the impact of the water crisis.

Therefore, this sector needs not only immediate attention but there is an urgent call to make it a ‘Jan Andolan’ by mass people’s involvement in addition to Government’s effort to stop future water crisis. That’s why, through 2019 Everest Expedition, he targeted water sector and urged people to India from the highest point of Himalaya, the source of major rivers of India and thus, sources of major water needs of Indians, to save water at their personal level. Because water is a daily need of 1.25 billion people of India, who use it for drinking, toilet, bath, laundry, irrigation, industry, etc. Controlling wastage of water is one of the major challenges in India, which can’t be done by government alone unless people themselves get involved in saving its valuable water resources. With people’s involvement, wastage can be easily controlled by stopping wastage of water in daily activities like repeated toilet flush even after piss, letting water tap open during brushing, lavish bath, Sunday cleaning spree, letting tap open for cleaning vegetables in kitchen, etc where significant amount of water can be saved if 1.25 billion population will become aware of it.
According to a report, Today, over 80 percent of the total water used in India is being used for agriculture but of the water available for irrigation, more than 60 percent is wasted. Using effective irrigation technique can save this huge amount of water. According to one other, India is one of the few countries in the world where the cities provide as much as 200 liters per capita per day of water. But, most of it is wasted, used for cleaning toilets, washing cars and maintaining gardens.

Mr. Ravindra Kumar is an IAS Officer of 2011 Batch. In the past, he has worked at various posts including Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM), Additional District Magistrate (ADM), Chief Development Officer(CDO), District Magistrate (DM) and Commissioner, in State Government of Sikkim and Uttar Pradesh and then he got posted in Government of India as Private Secretary to Union Minister of Drinking Water and Sanitation in Government of India, Sushree Uma Bharti and worked there from Dec 2017 till 14th Jun 2019. Presently he is posted in Government of Uttar Uttar Pradesh.

Mr. Kumar has also authored two motivational books on his previous journey to Mt. Everest. The books named “Many Everest – An inspiring journey of transforming dreams into reality” and its Hindi version “एवरेस्ट : सपनो की उडान : सिफर से शिखर तक”, published by Bloomsbury, talk about an innovative technique to success named ‘Advanced Positive Visualization’, which uses the innate power of human brain to catch image of anything before any other sensory perception like speech, hearing, smell, touch etc. The author scientifically explains and practically demonstrates his technique to the readers and tries to motivate them, how he, in spite of coming from a destitute background and facing multiple obstacles in life, set up many milestones in a short span of time. The books proved extremely useful for students and competitive examination aspirants.
For his exemplary deeds, Mr. Kumar has received many awards and recognitions including “Sikkim Khel Ratna Award”, Bihar- Vishesh Khel Samman”, Kashti Ratna Award, Sailor Today Sea-Shore Award, Samudra Manthan Award Felicitation, Jaimangla Kabar Award, Atal Mithila Samman, National Gaurav Award, Bharat Gaurav Award and many more accolades.

Shri Ravindra Kumar was born in a necessitous farmer’s family in Begusarai District of Bihar in the year 1981. Although lean, thin and physically weak in his childhood, he was meritorious in academics. Starting with his initial education in a rural Hindi medium school in the village, Mr. Kumar cracked IIT Entrance Examination in 1999 in his maiden attempt and then, worked over a decade in the field of Shipping. Finally, he settled in his current job in the Indian Administrative Services in 2011 after clearing Civil Services Examination.

Other than mountaineering, he has also done many other Sports &Adventure Activities like Bungee Jumping, Flying Fox, Para Sailing, SCUBA Diving, Skin Diving, Horse riding, River Rafting extra in the past. He has also been a ‘Black Belt in Karate’, a good swimmer and marathon runner in the past. He has also been active on the social welfare front and has taken many initiatives in the past to help poor and helpless people. He is also a motivational speaker and has given motivational lectures in some of India’s top training institutions like I.A.S. Training Academy at Mussoorie, I.R.S. Custom Training Academy at Faridabad and many other institutions as well.

Schedule of climb :

Mr. Ravindra departed from New Delhi on 10th April 2019 and arrived Kathmandu same day.
After collecting equipment and other formalities by logistics agency, he departed from kathamndu on 12th April for China Side (North Side) Everest Base Camp via Lhasa and arrived Base Camp on 18th April 2019.

China Side Everest Base camp is located at 5200 meters altitude. There are 5 more camps above Base Camp.
Everest Base Camp : 5200 meter
Intermediate Camp : 5800 mtr
Advance Base Camp : 6400 mtr.
North Col : 7100 mtr
Camp 2 : 7700 mtr
Camp 3 : 8300 mtr
Everest peak : 8848 mtr

After reaching Base Camp, climbers have to go through acclimatization schedule before attempting the peak, where climbers climb to a higher altitude to adjust their body to changing atmospheric conditions. With an increase in altitude; temperature, air pressure and oxygen content in the atmosphere decreases, so the human body needs to adjust itself to these changing parameters. Mr. Kumar climbed till North Col (7100 meters) and spent one night over there for his acclimatization.

After reaching Base Camp, acclimatization went on till next 15 days ie 1st week of May.
After completion of acclimatization, climbers have to wait for fair weather and route opening by the Chinese authority. The route to the peak was opened on 22nd May and Mr. Kumar summitted peak on very next day, ie 23rd May at 4.20 am.

All India Services Everest Expedition 2015 Spring

To commemorate the Golden Jubilee Year of first Indian Ascent of Mt Everest in 1965, an “All India Services Expedition to Mt. Everest” was organized in 2015. The Expedition was organized by Indian mountaineering Foundation (IMF), the apex body for Mountaineering related activities in India under Ministry of Youth affairs & sports, Government of India. The aforesaid expedition was recognized and supported by “Ministry of Youth affairs and Sports” as well as “Ministry of Personnel and Training”, Government of India.
The Team comprised of five All India Services officers from five different states of India. The leader of aforesaid expedition was Mr. Ravindra Kumar, an IAS officer of 2011 Batch from Sikkim. He had already climbed Mt. Everest in May 2013 and became the first IAS Officer of India to climb the highest peak of the world. Mt. Everest is his first peak in life, which he attempted and climbed in his first attempt in May 2013.

This was first time in India that a group of officers from “All India Services” had joined hands together and was committed to take such a courageous venture. Expedition was also first of its kind to climb the peak of Mt. Everest carrying the message of ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ to raise awareness about health and hygiene in the world from the world’s highest peak.  The Expedition was flagged off by Prime Minister of India, Sri Narendra Modi, on 27th March 2015 in New Delhi. After flag off, the expedition team arrived Kathmandu on 30th march 2015. The team commenced trekking in 1st week of April 2015 and reached Everest Base Camp at 17600 feet around mid April. The team was scheduled to attempt the summit of Everest in second half of May 2015 after completing a series of acclimatization in the mean time.
But Nepal earthquake and resultant avalanche shattered the attempt by killing and injuring many people at Everest Base Camp. Team Leader Mr. Ravindra Kumar, with his tremendous inner courage, managed to rescue few lives along with his team advisor Mr. Kazi Sherpa in extremely dangerous post avalanche scenario at Everest Base Camp and Himalayan Rescue Association appreciated his effort for the same.

Other Mountaineering Expeditions and Trekking

He is fond of long distance trekking but the first trek of his life was trekking around hills of Mussoorie during training in IAS Training Academy in 2011. Later he continued his trek during district training in Sikkim. He has done extensive trekking in North Sikkim as well as West Sikkim. In North Sikkim, he has trekked extensively and has covered on foot the distance of about 125 km from Mangan (district head quarter of North Sikkim) to last Army post called “Bunker” near China border. Similarly he has extensively trekked in West Sikkim and has covered last trekking spot near Nepal Border.

Recently, he also completed Sandakphu Trek in Darjeeling District of West Bengal, which is located at India-Nepal border and is the highest point of West Bengal.After returning from Everest, he continued climbing also as and when he got time & chance in addition to his regular job in “Indian Administrative Services”. Subsequently,he climbed Mt. Thingchenkhang (6010 mtr) in November 2014 and B.C. Roy Peak (17800 feet) in Feb 2015 as part of Pre-Everest Expedition for ‘All India Services Everest Expedition 2015. Both peaks are situated in West Sikkim Himalaya.

Other Adventure Activities

Other than mountaineering, he has been keenly interested and has taken part in many other sports and activities like bungee jumping, flying fox,para sailing, SCUBA diving, skin diving,horse riding, river rafting etc.in the past. He is also “Black Belt in Karate” which he had achieved during his college days in Mumbai. He has also been a good swimmer in the past and has won many prizes in different styles of swimming during his college days.

How to prepare for climbing Mt. Everest….!

As many of you have been sending individual messages asking for guidelines for climbing Mt Everest since I returned from this peak in May 2013, so thought to write here in brief, so that aspirants won’t have to wait for my reply in each case:
Following few suggestions may be followed, which I feel, are bare minimum requirements for Mount Everest Aspirants:

  • 1st thing is to make yourself fit so that :
    1. You can jog continuously for at least 10 kms in one stretch.
    2. You can trek for at least 5kms with a ruck-sac at the back weighing at least 15 kgs.
  • Once you can do this then join HMI Darjeeling or NIM Uttarkashi or any other good Mountaineering Training
    Institute to do Basic Mountaineering course.
    I suggest you to do Advance Mountaineering Course also after completing basic.
  • Once you complete above courses with “A” grade then look for some sponsor to arrange for Rs 20 Lakhs rupees which is approximate cost of Mt. Everest Expedition per head.
  • Quitting drinking and smoking (if you do) would help you in preserving strength.
  • Practising Yoga or deep breathing exercise would help in strengthening your lung.
    May You climb from peak to peak.
    With Best Wishes