From bravely facing his fears while scaling the 29,000 ft high mountain to putting to test his perseverance, mental toughness, and resilience, Gupta opened up to Sputnik in an interview about his life-transforming experience, which he penned down in a coffee table book.
The book, titled ‘7 Lessons from Everest – Expedition Learnings from Life and Business’ hit the shelves in April this year.
He says that the book not only captures the picturesque beauty of Mt. Everest with anecdotes about seven life lessons from his expeditions, but also aims to raise funds for CRY (Child Rights and You), an NGO, to help COVID-19 pandemic-affected children.
Sputnik: What inspired you to pen the ‘7 Lessons from Everest’ coffee table book and raise money through it for COVID-affected children?
Aditya Gupta: My 50-day expedition at Everest gave me a helicopter view of life and made me understand and realise a few things which eventually turned into ‘7 Lessons from Everest’.
First, I wrote an article, but to document this for a lifetime, I thought of writing a book.
The purpose for doing this wasn’t commercial gain. I wanted to do it for a bigger cause. Hence, I started a campaign to help children affected by COVID-19 and have kept a target to raise INR 10 Million ($133,770) to donate to CRY.
We have managed to raise over INR 6 million ($89,626) so far, and CRY America is taking this initiative forward.
Sputnik: Tell us about the seven lessons that you learnt from your expedition to Mt. Everest in 2019?
Aditya Gupta: The first lesson, ‘Passion plus preparation = performance’, is a building block in large-scale goal-setting and achievement. You have to be passionate about your goal, prepare hard with a lot of discipline and compromise on other things in order to achieve it. This provides conviction, confidence, and the understanding that you can’t fake anything.
Second lesson – ‘The power to focus’ talks about how important focus is when getting rid of confusion and a disinterested state of mind.
Others include ‘scale need not scare you’, ‘one step at a time’, ‘expect the unexpected’, ‘make friends with fear’, and ‘time is oxygen’.
Everest is only a metaphor and this book is not just about mountain climbing. It’s about setting goals and achieving them, having dreams, and trying to go after them.
These seven lessons made me realise that if an ordinary person like me can reach the summit of Mount Everest, then anybody can do anything by applying these understandings to daily life.
Sputnik: How was the experience climbing Mt. Everest?
Aditya Gupta: It was phenomenal. As you climb up, you encounter easy patches and tough patches but when you pass the extremely dangerous patches, it feels like it’s time to die. So, the Everest expedition is quite something.
It’s too long an expedition and it exposes your real self and true potential. Luck and destiny are a very big factor in coming back absolutely unharmed from the expedition.
Towards the end of the summit, things did get very intense. Around 12 people died during the expedition. Every year people die on Everest. According to statistics, one in 25 people doesn’t come back, and about four to five people out of 25 lose fingers or toes, or even nose due to frostbite. And maybe up to 10 people have problems which will keep them hospitalised for a couple of weeks or days.
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Sputnik: How did you get into mountaineering?
Aditya Gupta: When I was studying at IIT Roorkee, I was a part of the Himalayan explorer’s club, which was trekking and adventure exploration. In 1991, I did a mountaineering course at the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering in Uttarkashi (a town in Uttarakhand state) after a long waiting list of seven years.
I tried to climb Everest in 2014, but unfortunately, a massive avalanche struck the expedition and on the very first night of the climb, 16 people got killed. That year, we had to come back as the season was called off.
I also did the Brahmaputra expedition, the Zambezi expedition on a raft in Africa for 9-10 days, and the horseback expedition in Mongolia.
In 2019, I was turning 50 years old; I said, I am not getting any younger, and if we have to give Everest a shot, then time is running out. For me, Everest becomes your final frontier. I am lucky to have tried and succeeded and returned safely.
Sputnik: How has the response been to the book?
Aditya Gupta: The response has been pretty good, especially during the time when the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic struck us all. It was challenging, but we aim to reach our target of INR 10 Million ($133,770) soon.