Dalip Shekhawat is preparing to raise a St.Amant flag at the peak of Mount Everest.
A teacher in St.Amant School, Dalip is training up to seven hours a day to climb the summit of the world’s highest mountain, all in support of St.Amant Foundation.
It’s considered one of humankind’s most heroic and legendary journeys. Each spring, hundreds of climbers arrive at Mount Everest’s base camp hoping to stand at the top of the world for a few fleeting moments.
For Dalip, the desire to conquer the snow and ice-covered behemoth comes in part from a deep sense of family duty and respect for his parents.
“My mom passed away. She was always tough in teaching us. Dad was a hard-core military man who taught us that we have to struggle a lot in life and never give up. We struggled with life challenges. I want to prove to them that I have done what was expected of me,” he said.
To pay for the experience, Dalip has invested $60,000, which took him and his wife seven years to save. Some of the expenses include flights, his Sherpa guide, safety and search helicopters, climbing ropes and other group equipment. The government of Nepal also charges mountaineers USD 11,000 in royalty fees to climb to the 8,850 meter peak.
Dalip is not looking to restore his bank account through fundraising. Instead, all proceeds will be donated to the foundation which supports those he works with every day in his work at St.Amant.
“My life has changed in the seven years since I’ve been here. I wanted to use this for the right purpose and supporting the foundation will help provide resources and tools for people we support, so it feels right,” he said.
Dalip got “addicted” to climbing after taking his first mountaineering course years ago, but his connection to nature goes back to his days as a young boy when he walked three miles every day to school in a remote part of East India.
“I always liked the adventure.”
After completing basic and advanced mountaineering courses in India in 2002 and 2006, he went on to organize and lead numerous school expeditions in India.
He also climbed more than fifteen mountains. But none of them even close to the height of Everest.
The Everest climb is notorious for taking lives. In fact, about 300 climbers have died, which is about 6.5 percent of the more than 4,000 climbers who have reached the summit.
Most deaths have been attributed to avalanches, altitude sickness, falls, ice collapse, or exposure to the elements.
Dalip leaves in April and will be away from his wife and children for 60 days, and they’ve been supportive of all the time he is spending in training. They understand his drive to accomplish his vision, he said, but not without some anxiety. It took his wife time to digest the news of his decision before she came around to acceptance.
“My family is worried but I believe that even if I die, I would die doing what I love. Life is uncertain no matter what you do, and I just need to do this.”
Dalip gets up at 4 am. He starts the day with spiritual meditations. Next, he does hundreds of repetitions of strength building exercises like sit ups, push-ups and burpees. The rigorous training doesn’t even stop while he’s at work. Dalip spends breaks stair climbing and leads the Fitness for All exercise program at St.Amant, which includes intervals of 10 different high-intensity exercises.
Being a solider in the Canadian Armed Forces is likely a force that has built his uncommon tenacity and determination.
He runs or power hikes the half marathon distance on regular basis and has been doing so for the past six months.
“You have to maintain the momentum. Even when I’m tired and the training is boring, I can’t rest. I won’t be ready if I do.”
“Being out there and connecting with nature is like losing myself and finding myself at the same time.”
With only a few weeks left before he leaves for Nepal, Dalip has reached just over $800 of his $10,000 goal.
You can support him with a donation or sponsorship by visiting his fundraising page.
Cool Facts! The Washington Post created a scrolling graphic that helps make sense of the scale of the world’s tallest mountain.