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61-year-old from Vizag climbs Kilimanjaro with wife, says 'her willpower helped'

"Despite the extreme mountain sickness including vomiting, headache and losing our appetite, we made it," the proud couple said.

August 31, 2022 / 03:54 PM IST
Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa.

Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa.

Ravi Kishore Mallapragada, 61, and his wife Sowdamini, 57, recently climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. The feat is commendable not just because of the couple's age, but also because the mountain also happens to be a dormant volcano and is the highest in Africa.

Speaking to The Better India on their return, Mallapragada said he used to climb hills around his home in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.

“Visakhapatnam has several mountains and hills. I was around six when I first climbed a hill. From then, whenever any friends or family members visited my place, I used to take them to Dolphin’s nose and other nearby hills," he told the publication.

Mallapragada is a professor of Mathematics at Yanbu Industrial College, Saudi Arabia, but moving countries did not stop him from pursuing his hobby. "Even after moving to Saudi Arabia for work, I make use of the weekends to travel around the dunes and engage in adventure sports,” he said.

His wife, however, took to travelling only after marriage. “Even now, I am scared of certain adventures but my husband pushes me into it and I end up enjoying every bit of it,” Sowdamini, a teacher at a government school in Visakhapatnam, told the publication.

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But, initially, Mallapragada had no plans of taking Sowdamini with him on the trek to Mount Kilimanjaro. But she insisted on accompanying him.

Read more: What gets left behind at the top of the world?

After the pandemic hit, Mallapragada was stuck in Saudi Arabia till mid-2022 when he returned to Visakhapatnam and began preparations for the journey.

“I didn’t want my wife to accompany me on the climb. I was concerned about her health but she insisted on making the trip,” he said, adding that it was Sowdamini's encouragement that pushed him to complete the trek. “Her willpower took me to the top," Mallapragada said.

Speaking about the struggle to make it to the top of the mountain, he shared that while others in the team took 6-7 hours to reach Gilman’s peak, they  completed it in 11 hours. “While everyone was on cloud nine and was engaged in photo and videography. we could hardly breathe,” Sowdamini said. “But despite the extreme mountain sickness including vomiting, headache and losing our appetite, we made it.”

Read more: MC Insider: Working from Goa, dining in Dubai, mobbed in Bengaluru, tumbling out of bourses, and more
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first published: Aug 31, 2022 03:52 pm
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