“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves” — Edmund Hillary
Mankind has always strived to conquer its limitations and make living an extraordinary experience. This is precisely the sentiment that drove Bharat Bhushan as he explored peak after peak. Starting from a humble background his lofty dreams spurred Bharat to scale the highest of summits and to reach the pinnacle of his dreams.
Born on 26 January, 1987, in a village called Shakrori, some 45 kilometres from Shimla, Bharat is the eldest child of his parents. Bharat comes from a family of agriculturists. His father was a school teacher and his mother a wonderful homemaker who doted on her children and spent much time with them.
Bharat started attending the local government school in Sunni district. It was a tough life and young Bharat walked 3 kilometres every day to school. Although he was not very fond of studies, Bharat was an avid learner. He loved to explore the countryside and soon joined the school hockey team. While this gave him the perfect excuse to play truant, it also helped build up his fitness and physique – something that would come in handy later in life. Bharat was also learning precious lessons in perseverance and hard work. When he failed to do well in Class 11, he was overcome with disappointment. But he was determined to overcome the setback by making up with his hard work. He cleared his Class 12 examinations with 1st division marks.
First tryst with trekking
Pleased with Bharat’s achievement, his parents gave him a small cash prize. Bharat decided that he wanted to undertake a trekking expedition with this money. With a close friend, Bharat went to visit Shikari Devi about 70 kilometres from their village. The two boys took a 45 kilometre bus ride to reach the starting point of the trek. They then trekked the remaining 25 kilometres to Shikari Devi in an impressive time of 6 hours, despite getting lost twice.
This experience remained with Bharat for a long time and the young man started taking a keen interest in trekking. He devoured every bit of the National Geographic magazines that he bought with his savings whenever he visited Shimla.
Life in college
Like most parents, Bharat’s father wanted him to find a secure job. He wanted his eldest son to join the mercantile navy, but Bharat heart was not in it. He joined the Government College for Men at Chandigarh to study geography.
In the winter of 2006, while still in college, Bharat took his friends on a trek to Shikari Devi. It was a difficult trek – there was heavy snowfall and the path was slippery. The team was unprepared for the harsh winter night and could hardly sleep.. In spite of these hardships, Bharat and his team completed the trip. This Shikari Devi trip became a turning point in his life as he realized that he loved the outdoor life and was immensely captivated by it. Bharat started dreaming about trekking on the glaciers of Alaska some day.
Bharat then went on to complete his Masters in Geography from Punjab University.
Career in Mountaineering
Even as he was studying to gain a masters degree, Bharat enrolled himself for his first mountaineering course in 2008. It was a 28-day course from the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Mountaineering Institute. He then went on to complete an advanced mountaineering course at the same institute and further trained himself in the Method of Instruction (MOI). He wanted to be a certified trainer.
In 2009-10, Bharat stayed at Mount Abu and learnt basic and advanced skills of rock climbing. He also trained in Aid Climbing which involves use of equipment in climbing. The institute hired him to train the District Gazetted Officers. Not only that, the institute also recommended his name to National Institute of Mountaineering (NIM) at Uttarkashi.
At NIM, (Nahru Institute of Mountaineering) Bharat learnt about the art of opening routes and navigating glaciers. He learnt decision making and realized that he was physically and mentally capable of undertaking difficult expeditions.
Bharat went back to Mount Abu towards the end of 2010. Here he was selected to train the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel. He learnt how to make stretchers and carry causalities back to safer locations.
Bharat was fascinated with (NOLS). He received a scholarship to train with the institute. Over the years, Bharat has grown to be one of the best-loved instructors of NOLS.
Between May and June 2011, Bharat once again got together with his team and decided to climb the Changuch Peak. Out of a team of seven people, only five of them completed the trip. They were the first Indian team to have attempted climbing the Changuch Peak, and the story of their expedition was published in the American Alpine Journal and by the Indian Mountaineering Federation (IMF).
In Jan 2013, Bharat undertook this trek in Leh with a couple of his local friends.
Bharat participated in the 1st Climbathon fest organized by IMF in August 2013. It was conducted to give field experience to the trained mountaineers. Bharat, Karn, a Romanian instructor, and a Brazilian climber were a part of the team that climbed the Khangcering Peak discovering a new route.
Bharat had applied for an Instructor Course at NOLS Alaska and the NOLS Alaska team invited him to join them. On 6 May 2015, Bharat boarded a flight to Alaska from Delhi and soon completed his 30-day instructor’s course. Bharat trained at Wrangell-St. Elias (America’s largest National Park), crossed huge glaciers, and climbed Mount Gordon (2755 meters). He traversed the Nabesna Glacier (world’s longest interior valley glacier 85 kilometres). Bharat also undertook a personal trip with a friend from NOLS Alaska to the Denali National Park.
Bharat is a life member of the BRICS Chamber of Commerce and Industry, India Chapter. He is still working on his skills as a mountaineer and keeps looking for newer challenges and places that he can explore. His vision is to encourage more and more people in India to take up mountaineering as a profession and help them learn safe mountaineering practices.
Peaks I have climbed :
Nanda Khat 6611m
- Changuch 6322m
- Khangsering Peak 6250m
- Stok Kangri 6153m
- Friendship Peak 5289m
- Z-1 Daughter 5467m
- Mount Fafnir – 3128m
- Mount Gorden – 2755m
- Mount Camels Hump – 3368m
- Mount Shuksan – 9131f
- Mount Sahale – 8681f
- Mount Eldorado – 8868f
- Mount Baker – 10,781f
- Mount Rainier – 14,411f