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The Freestanding Beauty – Mount Kilimanjaro

You Are Stronger Than You Think…… Mountains taught me many things humility, being fearless, gratitude for everything I have.. but most importantly, it is valuing self strength. Believes Gayatri. An MBA who held key positions during her corporate stint, was not happy being bound by the books of accounts. So she became a professional Fitness consultant and started scaling new heights with trekking /mountaineering expeditions. She is a motivational speaker, an active social media influencer, a marathon runner & a powerlifter. Here is an interesting travelogue by her about lessons we can learn from mountains.

Hey, it’s my mountain story time again. This time I have an exciting story to share about my second summit out of the seven summits of the world: Mount Kilimanjaro(5,895 m). As usual, the climb was nothing less than exhilarating. But, I’d like to share the intricate details.
The challenges
Since the lockdown, almost everyone has caught the craze of trekking and climbing. So much so, I bet, you also have them on your bucket list. However, to climb one of the seven summits is a whole other thing entirely. As I graduated from a trekker to a mountaineer without even realising that how mountains bond with me in a different way. It is a love-hate relationship.They love me, attract me towards them & at the same time teach me that they are powerful than one’s imagination by throwing challenges while climbing them. Everyone shares only the beautiful aspects of mountain climbing. But, to encourage you, I am going to talk about the challenging parts as well.
After I came back from Everest Base Camp in May 2021 & post one month of resuming my normal fitness routine, I got diagnosed with a slight misalignment between my L4 & L5 in the spine. Reason is weak Gluteus muscle. Recurring knee pain made me visit the doctor & was advised for exercises which are non-cardio. My plan was to climb Mount Elbrus in July followed by Mount Kilimanjaro in August & September. Sad & demoralised how can I stop cardio/endurance training? You need to be good in endurance training for climbing! Par woh kehte hain na “Agar kisi cheez ko dil se chaho toh puri kayanat usey tumse milane ki koshish main lag jaati hai”. So my kayanat’s were none other than these blessed people in my life. * My trainer Adarsh referred me to Ashish sir & under his guidance went for multiple rehab therapies. * Not to forget my all time savior Biswajit sir, don’t remember the number of times have troubled him for quick fix solutions to my problems & learnt stability from him both for my mind & body. * My trainer Shashi to whom I torcher to train me hard.So along with regular routine workout of 90 minutes, added another 2 hrs of strengthening exercises twice a day till I finished all the climbs.

The Freestanding Beauty – Mount Kilimanjaro!
Moreover almost every online article I read said that Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the easiest peaks out of the seven. Evidently, it is not so. It just has different challenges than the others. When I started climbing it, it struck me once again that nature is more powerful than anything in this world. I believe that to successfully make a climb that high, you need to humble yourself before the mountains. And the mountains should bless us if they wish to add us to their excellence. Yeah! They surely make us a wee bit spiritual!

A quick travelogue
My team and I started the climb at 1:30 am on 3rd October,2021. After crossing the two peaks, Gilman’s Point and Stella Point, we reached the final peak (Uhuru Peak) around 2`o’clock in the afternoon the next day. It feels so easy to say in words, but it was an exhausting with low oxygen levels & treacherous ascent till Gilman Point was a life changing experience.It was mind-opening climb of 12 continuous hours. We endured the journey with no solid food, in two to three energy bar/chocolates and 2 litres of warm water. But, the struggle was entirely worth it when I witnessed one of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen. As the glimmer of the sun shined through the clouds, I felt like I had finally lived!

A life lesson from the mountains
The descent was nothing less beautiful & equally challenging. In my opinion, one has to enjoy the return journey as much as we admire the beautiful scenery on the top. The mountains taught me a life lesson again. That we should enjoy every moment of our life and not just the success parts. You have to enjoy both going up and coming down.

A trail of leadership
Yes! I have started my journey as a leader. My primary challenge as a leader was not to keep them climbing through physical strength but their mental agility. I had to keep them motivated through my words and actions.Was blessed to have a unique & strong team who had the NEVER GIVE UP attitude until they make it to the top.Days just passed like hours with both Ramesh sir & Venu sir jokes,Nischay’s talks,Hasvi’s quest to learn new things & lastly we all survived in the foreign destination only due to pickles & snacks got by another team member Vijayalakshmi Maam.Was blessed & honored to be given the opportunity to be a Team Leader by Romil & with excellent guidance from my leader Mr Bharat alongwith the help of other local guides, I paved the first step on my leadership journey.
My advice to you
You are capable of everything you dream of. All you need to have is strong mental health. Nature doesn’t only challenge your physical vigour, but it also helps you build better and stronger mental health. I treat every day as a Mental Health Awareness day. And that is what made this journey possible. So, while preparing, train your mind along with your body to endure and triumph.

Gayatri Mohanty has following recognitions to describe her persona:-

* Women Achiever Award :2021.

* South India Women Achiever Award: 2020.

* Mrs India Global Universe & * Mrs Dazzling Diva : 2019

* Mrs Karnataka (1st Runner Up) & Best Body Award : 2019

* International Women Achiever Award: 2019

* Best NCC Cadet for Orissa Contingent: 2002

Article and photo Credit : Ms Gayatri Mohanty


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