The disappearance of Indian climber Malli Mastan Babu in the Andes on March 24th 2015 provoked a lot of consternation in the Indian climbing and trekking fraternity. Despite efforts being made to organise a helicopter rescue for him as well as sending out search parties to find him, it was not to be.
As the newly set up facebook page "Rescue Malli Mastan Babu" commented " Mountains claimed its favourite child - RIP Malli Mastan Babu".
In retrospect, it is interesting to look at some of the records which Babu made:
- He was the one of the fastest men to climb all the seven summits in the seven continents in 172 days, Jan 19 – July 10, 2006)!
- He was the only climber in the world to climb seven summits on seven days of the week and one in each calendar month!
- He was also the only south Asian climber to achieve the seven summits climb!
- As an Indian he was the only mountaineer to climb the seven summits and he was also the first Indian to summit Mt. Vinson Massif, the tallest peak of Antarctica and Carstensz Pyramid, the tallest peak of Oceania.
- He was also the only climber from Andhra Pradesh to summit Mt. Everest!
Interesting Babu had a brilliant academic record - he was an IIT engineer from Kharagpur in 1998 and IIM graduate from Kolkata in 2004! But unlike his management colleagues from IIM who pursued a corporate career Babu pursued his passion with single mindedness of purpose and utmost dedication!
R.I.P Malli Mastan Babu - a great loss for the climbing community and your country India.
Photographs courtesy the Facebook page "Rescue Malli Mastan Babu".