Hey Stubborn Army! We are back once again with a tale of inspiration, resolve and stubbornness – Kamya Sahas. We have brought you such tales earlier then but this one is inspirationally special.
So how would you answer the following
Were the treacherous trails leading to the Himalayan peaks your playground at the age of 5 -7?
Were you at 7 years of age training hard to scale mountain peaks which daunted many an experienced adventurer?
Were you dreaming of scaling Mount Everest at the age of 10?
Well I’m sure the answer for most of us would be – ‘NO’. However, there is a 12-year-old girl whose answer to the above questions would be a resounding ‘YES’. Astounding but true.
We are talking about Kaamya Karthikeyan, a 12-year-old Navy kid, who has notched up one record after the other in the field of Mountaineering and adventure. Starting at the tender age of 3, Kamya Sahas discovered the joy of being with mother nature and the thrill of trekking which soon developed into a consuming passion.
Little Kaamya’s, Large Adventures
Kaamya’s father and Naval officer Cdr. S karthikeyan had always been fond of an adventurous life. A few months from Kaamya’s arrival her father was skydiving with the Naval team. So Kamya Sahas was actually ‘born in adventure’.
When Kamya Sahas was 3, the patter of her tiny feet could be heard on the ‘Sahyadris’. The Karthikeyan family chose the little treks in and around Lonavala as their weekend getaways. That’s where a tiny spark for trekking was struck in Kamya Sahas, which became a full-blown fire of passion.
Cdr. Karthikeyan, a mountaineer himself, took a long shot at Mt. Stok Kangri in 2014. Though he was unsuccessful, this made him even more gravitated towards mountaineering. Year after year Kamya’s father would go for expeditions and Kamya Sahas was left home wondering “What pulled him towards the mountains every year?”
“To quench the curiosity of my daughter, we embarked on an adventure into the Himalayas.
One After The Another, This Kept On Going : Kamya Sahas
Having walked and trekked with the Naval Mountaineering team often, we were in good physical form and well versed with the rudiments of trekking” tells Kaamya’s mother.
So, at the little age of 7, Kamya Sahas already set foot on the snowy Great Himalayas. Along with her mother Kamya Sahas did three treks in the Himalayas, each one higher than the last. Little Kaamya made the ‘Great Himalayas’ her buddies as her courage was no less than that of the Himalayas themselves.
Kamy had already become a seasoned trekker by the age of 8, climbing became her second nature.
Everest - The Splendid Dream
2017 was the golden year of Kaamya’s mountaineering journey. The first quarter of the year brought her a golden opportunity to accompany her father to the Everest Base Camp (EBC). She trained hard for it.
“We wanted to be sure that we were ready for such an enormous climb. So to test ourselves, we trekked Roop Kund (16400ft). Kamya Sahas temperament told us that she was all ready to embark on the journey to EBC” told Mrs. Lavanya Karthikeyan
Kamya Sahas father was not able to make it to the Naval Everest team. Kamya Sahas parents didn’t shied away from keeping their word. In May 2017, Kamya Sahas and her mother set foot on the holy land leading to Everest.
With a rarefied atmosphere and high altitude climbing to EBC is not supposed to be a cakewalk but Kamya Sahas persistence made it to be.
“Kamya Sahas became the second youngest girl in the world to trek to the Everest Base Camp, but it was never about setting records. It was more about raising a ‘good well-rounded person’ and mountaineering enabled us to do so.” said Kamya Sahas father.
The Record-Breaking Birthday Gift
Mt. Stok Kangri, known as ‘The University’ among the trekking community, was Kamya Sahas next adventure. On her 10th birthday, she was to graduate from a trekker to a mountaineer, by climbing a breath-taking altitude of 20,000 ft.
Kaamya’s tiny feet were not suited for the available sizes of Crampons (Mountaineering Spikes for walking on ice). Also, the authorities were hesitant to let a 10-year-old climb Mt. Stok Kangri. It was not a child’s play after all.
Difficulties weren’t able to stand Kaamya’s fierce desire and eventually the Karthikeyan family was allowed to scale Mt. Stok Kangri.
“After exhausting hours of climbing, three of us shared a spectacular moment. Reaching the summit, we looked at the grandeur of nature and felt humbled.” Kaamya’s parents told with an air of cheer.
Kamya Sahas became the youngest girl in the world to climb a peak higher than 20000ft. Still it was just the beginning of a completely new journey, Mission Sahas.
Kaamya was now absolutely ready for everything that came her way and was raring for new challenges and new horizons.
The next bull’s eye was ‘The Explorers Grand Slam.’ (It includes climbing the highest peaks in all 7 continents and skiing to the South and the North pole).
“We decided to name the endeavour SAHAS because it literally means ‘Adventure’ in Sanskrit. We planned to complete them all by 2022, so Kaamya would become the youngest in the world to achieve the feat at just 14 years of age.” shared Kaamya’s parents
Mt. Kilimanjaro (Africa)
The year 2017 was a life changing year in Kaamya’s life and another wonderful opportunity presented itself to her. An Indian team was going for an expedition to
Mt. Kilimanjaro(18652ft.) and Kaamya was welcomed to join.
She and her mother embarked on a trail to the volcano’s rim. The volatile temperatures did present difficulties to the intrepid explorer but she stood stubborn and made it. Kaamya seems to never get exhausted, she is always motivated for the next challenge.
Mt. Elbrus (Europe)
After embarking on mission SAHAS, Kaamya’s life had become a constant journey. Either she was summiting or she was preparing to summit. After her exemplary success at Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Elbrus was her next goal.
The challenge was to climb such a great mountain and then to Ski down from the summit. Also, her tiny feet were not yet apt for touring ski boots which added to the challenge. Kaamya showed that nothing is impossible if we chose to believe.
She scaled such a difficult mountain, changed her boots at the summit (astoundingly!) and then came down skiing and made yet another world record.
Mt. Kosciuszko (Australia)
Mt. Kosciuszko was not much of a challenge for Kaamya and her mother. They climbed it on a day when there was no soul on the peak, other than this mother-daughter duo.
“The winds were blowing fast, that’s why an attempt to get a selfie at the summit cost me my phone.” shared Kaamya’s mother with giggles.
Mount Aconcagua (South America)
Mt. Aconcagua (22,837ft) has been the most dangerous summit Kaamya has taken on. She trained hard for it and made an intermediate expedition before taking on such a huge leap.
She and her father both trained themselves physically as well as emotionally. Aconcagua is a climb comparable to Everest. The rarefied atmosphere, extremely unpredictable weather and biting cold together constituted an arduous summit.
After reaching Argentina, the father daughter duo had to climb a legal mountain. The Argentinian authorities were not ready to give a permit to a 12-year-old. The situation worsened but Kaamya and her father didn’t left hope.
After two weeks of strenuous legal rigmarole, they were eventually allowed to climb. The summit was already arduous and then another obstacle came their way. After almost reaching camp 3, they were forced to go back to the base camp.
Even Kaamya’s father was disheartened but Kaamya’s still stood strong. Only because of her courage, they repeated the climb and eventually reached the summit.
David did become Goliath that day and little Kaamya scaled the giant obstacles that came her way and engraved her name in the stones of history. Her efforts were appreciated even by the honourable Prime Minister in his Mann Ki Baat.
A word from Kaamya’s Parents
“We never focussed on the records; we always wanted to raise a ‘good person’ and a ‘better citizen’. Mountaineering was a great tool in that.
Kaamya is a 5th grader in Piano and a 2nd grader in Guitar and also has a good academic record. She has become an all-rounder. The most important thing is to “Give your little one every opportunity you can, in whichever field they take interest in”
So, guys this was the story of the ‘Mountaineering Prodigy’. Her focus, determination, desire to excel and love for adventure will surely have struck a fire in the hearts of many of us.
Let the fire that burns within Kaamya be the inspiration for you to go out and do all the adventurous things you always dreamed about but never pursued.
We will be back to you with a new tale that will inspire your passion and zeal. Till then
Stay Passionate, Stay Stubborn