Aaryan Balaji, a 12-year-old mountaineer with many firsts to his credit, is all set to embark on an expedition to scale the highest peak in the world outside of Asia. His expedition to South America and Antarctica was flagged off by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday.
He aims to become the youngest ever to climb Acongagua, the highest mountain in South America, with a height of 6,960 metres. The highest peak outside Asia, it is part of the Andes Mountains and is located in Argentina.
The peak is described as a difficult one to climb because of very high winds in addition to the bitter cold.
A school student from Navy Public School in Mumbai, Balaji is also aiming to become the youngest mountaineer to climb the Vinson Massif in Antartica. Discovered in 1957, it has a maximum altitude of 4,897 metres. A group of mountaineers first climbed it in 1966.
Impressive Track Record
The young mountaineer, who has an impressive track record, was the youngest to scale Africa’s highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro, at a height of 5,895 metres. He was all of seven years old when he achieved the feat in 2013.
Aaryan Balaji has not looked back ever since he scaled the 5,554-metre high Mount Kalapattar in the Nepalese Himalayas, at the tender age of six-and-a-half years in May 2012. He also made the arduous trek to the Southern Base Camp of Mount Everest which is situated at a height of 5,364 metres.
In June 2017, he became the youngest mountaineer to cross three mountain passes and scale three peaks in the Solukhumbhu region of Nepal. The expedition, also known as the Everest 3 Passes Trek, involved crossing the Kongma La, Cho La and Renjo La passes, located at altitudes going up to 5,480 metres.
The mountaineer has been a brand ambassador for polio eradication and a public sector bank.