12-year-old Mumbai girl youngest to scale Mt. Aconcagua

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Kaamya Karthikeyan, youngest to scale Mt. Aconcagua

A 12-year old Mumbai student, Kaamya Karthikeyan has set a record of becoming the youngest in the world to summit Mt. Aconcagua, the highest peak of the Andes Mountains in Argentina, South America, an official said here on Sunday.

Kaamya is a Class VII student of Navy Children School, achieved the feat atop the 6962 metres tall mountain on February 1 where she unfurled the Indian Tricolour.

No stranger to tall mountains, Kaamya had summited Ladakh’s 6,260 metres Mt. Mentok Kangri II, under extreme cold weather conditions on August 24, 2019.

“Years of physical, mental preparations, regular participation in adventure sports combined with a strong character helped Kaamya in overcoming many hurdles and extreme climbing conditions to achieve this rare feat,” an official told IANS.

While her father is an Indian Navy Commander S. Karthikeyan, her mother Lavanya is an early childhood teacher.

As a child, Kaamya had developed a deep passion for mountaineering as she listened to her father’s stories of Himalayan-scaling expeditions.

Initially, she started with basic treks in Lonavala, (Pune) at the age of three, and by nine, she had completed several high-altitude Himalayan treks with her parents including Roopkund (5,020 metres) in Uttarakhand.

A year later, she reached the Everest Base Camp in Nepal (5,346 metres) and then became the youngest mountaineer to conquer Mt. Stok Kangri (6,153 metres) in Ladakh.

Not looking down, Kaamya continued on the upswing by scaling Mt. Kilimanjaro (5,895 metres) the highest peak in Africa, Mt; Elbrus (5,642 metres), the highest mountain in Europe and then Australia’s tallest mountain Mt. Kosciuszko (2,228 metres).

She learnt the basic skills under her father’s tutelage with a stringent regimen including daily distance cycling, running, half-day treks on weekends to improve stamina and endurance power.

By next year (2021), she aims to complete the exclusive ‘Explorers Grand Slam’ – which involves the competitors to climb the tallest mountains in all continents besides skiing on the North Pole and South Pole – that has been achieved by just a handful of dare-devil adventurers on Earth.

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