Ajay Maken flags off the ‘Mountaineering Challenge’ for Premlata Agarwal

Premlata AggarwalNew Delhi: Ajay Maken, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Youth Affairs & Sports today flagged off the next big leap by ace mountaineer Premlata Agarwal. She has set her eyes on the ‘Mountaineering Challenge’ i.e. to climb the Seven Summits. After scaling Mt. Everest (29,035 ft.), Killimanjaro (19,334 ft.) and Aconcagua (22,841 ft.), the 45 year old mountaineer is all charged up for her climb to the remaining four summits - Mount Elbrus (Europe), Vinson Massif (Antarctica), Mount McKinley (North America) and Carstensz Pyramid (Indonesia).

Tata Steel is sponsoring her expedition and has sanctioned Rs 11 lakhs to climb the remaining 4 summits.

On the occasion, Maken said “It gives me great pride to flag off another adventurous challenge of Premlata. Efforts of corporates like Tata Steel to support Indian sportspersons are laudable. Premlata’s successful expedition would be unprecedented achievement for India. We wish her all the very best”

The one who completes this challenge of conquering all seven summits is considered to be a ‘Hall of Famer’ among mountaineers. If Premlata achieves this towering feat (she has given herself time till 2013), she will become the first Indian and the oldest woman to conquer the seven summits (Mount Everest (Asia), Mount Kilimanjaro (Africa), Aconcagua (Argentina), Mount Elbrus (Europe), Vinson Massif (Antarctica), Mount McKinley (North America) and Carstensz Pyramid (Indonesia).

Premlata expressed, “My initiation in the field of adventure came by chance, and has been an uphill journey. I am looking forward to taste success by climbing all the seven summits. I would like to thank Tata Steel and my mentor for their support.”

The tentative dates to climb the summits are DENALI (May 20-June 12), ELBURS (July 15- 28, 2012), Carstensz Pyramid (October 14 - 27, 2012), Mount Vinson (Dec. 14 - 29).

On prior occasions, Agarwal has participated in several expeditions notable being the Island Peak Expedition in Nepal (20,600 ft) in 2004, the Karakoram Pass (18,300 ft) and Mt Stok Kangri (20,150 ft) in 2006, the First Indian Woman’s Thar Desert Expedition in 2007 which involved a 40 day Camel Safari along the International Border from Bhuj in Gujarat — Rann of Kutch — Thar in Rajasthan, upto Wagah Border in Punjab. These achievements were also recognised as a National Record and found place in the Limca Book of Records.