9-year-old becomes the youngest girl to scale Mount Elbrus
Dhanashree, a class IV student, did the Diamond City of Surat pride
These days girls seem to be stealing the show not only in secondary board school exams, but also in physical adventures. A few weeks earlier a housewife from Arunachal Pradesh climbed the Everest twice in the space of five days.
On June 18, a nine-year-old girl from Surat in Gujarat became the youngest to scale Mount Elbrus, Europe's highest peak at an altitude of 18,510 feet. Mount Elbrus is in Russia and is considered one of the toughest peaks to conquer because of the terrain and the weather.
Dhanashree, a class IV student, did the Diamond City of Surat pride, the city officials said. "She is our crown jewel," said a spokesperson from her school.
It was not an entirely a solo effort. Dhanashree's mother, Dr Sarika Mehta, her 13-year-old brother Janam, and their father Jignesh, were with her. The whole family was on an expedition to test their collective grit and endurance levels. They seem to have aced it.
"Yes you have done it ...you are a very strong girl," said Dr Sarika Mehta in a choked voice as ?she hugged her nine-year-old daughter as she stepped out on to the peak.
"At one time, we had decided to return after encountering a very violent storm. We were extremely worried ourselves. After all Dhanashree is just a kid, and to subject her to challenges a practised adult mountaineer would find hard to meet weighed heavily on us as parents." Dr Sarika, a doctor, mountaineer and a biker, said to the media later.
However, both children were determined to complete the adventure. "We have come so far, nearly scaled 3/4 of the way up and now we must wait out the storm and reach the peak," Dhanashree told her parents.
As it happened the last day of the climb was the harshest. Dhanashree and family took 11 hours to reach the top, carrying 10-12 kg weight in high velocity, cutting winds.
Dhanashree and Janam were cheered on all along the way by other climbers from across the world. They appreciated the child's determination and strength of character, said Dhanashree's father, Jignesh.
"We caught each other and stood in a huddle at times not to get dragged away by winds, and held on to the rope for life when the peak was just 10-12 metres away. It took us a long time to climb just 10 metres at one point of time due to the strong winds," said Janam, who wants to be a mechanical engineer. Janam said he was keen to climb the top seven summits in the world.
Dhanashree said: "My mother has not climbed Mt Everest, and I too want to go there. We will go about that mission too as a family to conquer Mt Everest one day."
As Jignesh said, families that climb mountains together stay together.
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