UAE: 14-year-old Indian boy is the youngest expat to reach Africa’s highest mountain

Dubai - Shashwat and Shobha Mahalanobis are the first-ever mother-son duo to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro.

By Waheed Abbas

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Published: Sun 18 Jul 2021, 2:52 PM

Last updated: Sun 18 Jul 2021, 3:20 PM

A 14-year-old boy from Dubai scaled Mt Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa, and the highest single free-standing mountain in the world, becoming the youngest UAE expatriate Indian to climb the mountain.

Shashwat Mahalanobis, a 14-year-old Gems Modern Academy Dubai student, along with his mother, Shobha Mahalanobis, a fitness enthusiast, are the first-ever mother-son duo to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro.

The youngest Emirati to reach the summit was Seif Saleh Al Shunnar, who achieved the feat in 2018 at the age of 14.

Reaching a height of 5,895 metres, (19,341 ft) from sea level, the Tanzania-based peak is 16,100 ft above its plateau base.

Starting on July 4, the mother-son duo scaled the peak on July 9 and returned the next day.

Before starting the journey and braving the challenges of high altitude, extremely low temperatures and strong winds, Shashwat and his mother attended three to four weekly personal training sessions. They frequently climbed mountains in the UAE, carrying with them a 10kg backpack and specialised mountaineering equipment.

These instructor-led training sessions helped build physiological and psychological strength in the duo for the climb. In addition, Shashwat used to walk 5-7 km daily, along with his mother and father to boost stamina and improve fitness.

Shashwat is an AI professional and Python specialist. He holds 11 certifications in data science, machine learning and AI (Artifical Intelligence). He has taught 15 kids on Python (programming language) during Covid-19. He also likes to play the guitar.

Upon reaching the peak, Shashwat said he was overwhelmed with a sense of pride in his grit and he now believes that no mountain is too high for him.

He hopes that his achievement would inspire others to follow in his footsteps and bring more records to the UAE.

“He loves outdoor activities, cricket and basketball. He has been a sports guy throughout,” said Shobha about Shashwat.

She added that they are next “planning a Mount Everest base camp trip in March-April.”

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