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Child Trekker Aarush Dhrupesh Patel On His Expeditions

Child Trekker Aarush Dhrupesh Patel On His Expeditions

BY MILLY MAINA

In June 2023 ahead of his 12th birthday, Aarush Dhrupesh Patel decided against having a birthday party and instead chose a trekking activity in celebration. After speaking to a close family friend who had earlier summited Mount Kenya, researching and finding a trekking guide, Aarush, his father and two uncles summited the mountain’s Lenana Point, the highest point in Kenya at 4,895m above sea level, on Aarush’s birthday on 8th August, 2023. The almost 13-year-old has since summited Mount Kilimanjaro and trekked to the Mount Everest Base Camp. He shares his trekking experiences thus far and future aspirations for mountaineering.

How did you settle on trekking as a hobby?

For my 12th birthday I wanted to do something adventurous, spoke to my parents and my dad went ahead and made it all possible, that’s how it all started.

When did you embark on your first trekking expedition and where? Describe that experience from preparation, trekking, and camping to summiting?

It started on 6th August, 2023, when we booked a trek to Mount Kenya together with my dad, and my uncles Harry and Amit. We planned our summit on my birthday. Camping to the summit was quite fun for me, but it was cold. Preparation was the key; we would plan day hikes such as Mount Longonot et cetera. And exercise every day.

A few months after your inaugural trek, you did one-day hikes to Mount Ole Satima and Hell’s Gate National Park in preparation to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. Any challenges that came with?

While climbing Mount Ole Satima, I had a few problems such as heavy breathing, taking too many breaks and low energy. While climbing Hell’s Gate National Park there were no such issues, just a very long trek.

At 5,895m above sea level, Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest point in Africa. How was your experience reaching Uhuru Peak as a young boy?

It was one of the toughest hikes as summit day starts at midnight, trekking in cold temperatures that were -5 degrees, and it was a steep climb to the summit. The most exciting part was seeing a lot of snow when reaching Uhuru Peak, and the views were unbelievable, which made summiting even more exciting. Reaching Uhuru Peak gave me joy and pride as I was standing at the highest point in Africa. The feeling of walking back down to the base camp is not that great.

And finally, the big one earlier this year, tell us about your most anticipated trek on Mount Everest? Did you reach the peak?

No, I only trekked to the base camp which is at 5,365m above sea level. My future goal is to climb and stand at the top of the world at 8,849m above sea level, God willing.

We did a few day hikes such as Ngong Hills and Elephant Hills, and daily exercise and strength training as well as walking up and down five storey stairs in preparation.

Then we flew down to Kathmandu on 1st April, 2024. From there we took off to Lukla and landed at the World’s Dangerous Airport, Tenzing – Hillary Airport. Then we started our 14-day hike to Everest Base Camp. We met a lot of people in our group from different countries. The trek was very beautiful, the outstanding views, the Yaks, the porters, et cetera. It takes eight days of trekking to reach the base camp and another four days to trek back. We had two extra days for rest and acclimatisation.

It was the most amazing accomplished feeling and the view was mind-blowing, something I have never seen before.

Where do you plan on trekking next?

Mount Rwenzori in Uganda, Annapurna Base Camp in Nepal and hopefully one day reaching the peak of Mount Everest.

How far do you see taking this hobby? Would you take up trekking/mountaineering as a career? If not, what do you want to be when you grow up?

I wish to pursue a career in Software Engineering as I love technology and the digital approach to the future. I will keep mountaineering as a hobby and add up to my bucket list of several other high peaks.

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