Peaks and perks of perseverance
Three days, two climbs, one record — 19-year-old Naga Satish Pasupuleti recently became the youngest person to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro twice
CHENNAI: A whole night at an altitude of 5,400 metres with no guidance or support — the time spent at Mount Kilimanjaro was hard for Naga Satish Pasupuleti, a 19-year-old student of Krea University. Even though he had received instructions to not climb that night due to a perilous stone fall along the route, he was determined to finish his mission. Satish says, “I changed my route multiple times. I stayed the whole night at the altitude without any shelter, tent or a sleeping bag. I didn’t eat any proper meal except for some chocolates and dry fruits. My whole body, especially my hands, were frozen. In the morning I came back to the town and climbed the mountain again.” With two records (one was eight hours and 50 minutes), Satish became the youngest person in the world to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro twice in three days from June 28.
Satish took the toughest and most challenging Umbwe route and was recognised by Kilimanjaro National Park. “Usually everybody gets a guide to walk along with them throughout the trek. I did the trek alone. I unofficially climbed up to 5,600 metres during the night,” he says.
On reaching the peak, he proudly waved the flag of his university, Krea, and expressed his gratitude to the country. After the trek, he stayed in Tanzania for a few more days to interact with the people of primitive tribes in the area. “While trekking, my goal is also to learn a lot from the people living there. Here I met a lot of people from the Maasai tribe. Most of them earn their livelihood by rearing cattle. A few of them knew English and with their help, I tried to understand their life and problems. I have made arrangements to connect with them online and continue taking (educational) sessions for them,” he says.
Primary focus: education
Satish’s goal in life is simple — work hard till you achieve your mission. Being a first-generation learner from a family that is into agricultural business at Udimudi Village in Konaseema district in Andhra Pradesh, Satish befriended struggles at a young age. He was determined to change his fortune.
“When I was studying in Class 10, there was an issue of mass copying. Teachers used to directly give the answers to the students and everyone used to pass the exams without studying or even understanding the subject. After getting good marks, instead of working and making a change they slowly come back to their previous lifestyle, thus wasting the education that most people strive hard to receive,” shares Satish.
He then started a movement against the issue and filed a complaint to the then chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu’s office. Despite the obstacles that laid in his path to accomplish the mission, he persevered, consulted officers and politicians till they took action. “Even though the principal was suspended, they failed me that year deliberately. I didn’t stop but continued to make it my goal,” says the student of History and Politics at School of Interwoven Arts and Sciences (SIAS), Krea University.
He also started educational campaigns in schools nearby in tribal areas of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Telangana. He was recognised by the KidsRights Foundation in the Netherlands and had also attended the Global Peace Summit in Istanbul in 2020.
While education was not something he could compromise on, Satish also didn’t let his interest in other areas like sports and space science waver. He started trekking five years back and took a training course at Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports before going on major expeditions in 2022. Strength training wasn’t new to him as he was an international athlete and has participated in championships worldwide like the Indo-Nepal International Championship in 2018.
“I knew that mountaineering is an expensive task. Since I am not financially independent, I started writing e-mails to different companies to get sponsors. I have completed more than 40 treks now. The very recent one was sponsored by my parents,” he shares, adding that he navigated the trek by himself — from getting a visa to finding routes for the trek. He contacted people from Tanzania and also received support from Africa Natural Tours.
Satish aspires to conquer more unnamed peaks and make a change in every stage of his life. “People think that they need to earn money or reach a certain position to make a change. But in reality, it is not the case. You can make an impact whenever and wherever you want. It solely depends on you. I don’t have any social media accounts. I detach myself from that world so that I can be closer to real-life situations. There are problems in everybody’s life. Identify the problem in your area or life that needs to be resolved then work on that. Everything else will follow,” Satish signs off.