For seven-year-old, Saanvi Sood, reaching the highest summits in this world is no less than a cake walk. Her secret to success lies not only in his continuous practice and hard work but also in her relentless will to continue setting new benchmarks with each passing day.
A true Punjabi at heart, Saanvi is not only the youngest Indian girl to trek the Everest base camp, but she has also covered a lot of challenging trails at such a young age.
In an exclusive interview with Saanvi, we explore more about her experience so far, what keeps her going, and a lot more!
Tell us about your journey of becoming the youngest Indian girl to trek the Everest base camp and being featured in the India Book of Record 2022.
After watching the Everest movie, I asked my father if we can go to Mount Everest in the summer holidays, to which my father smiled and insisted that I am very young for that. However, on the very next morning, on 21st May, he told me that we are planning a trip to Mount Everest base camp. I got really excited, but at that time, I had no idea about how difficult that would be in reality.
As per the Nepal authorities, it is not advisable to travel there after 30th May due to the adverse weather conditions. However, we still started our journey on 1st June.
Various insurance companies also denied providing insurance services due to my young age. However, at the same time, my dad was very motivated, focused, and positive just to complete my dream.
We trekked for almost 115 km to and fro to complete this mission and it took us a total of 12 days to complete the same. On 9th June, I hosted the Indian flag at Everest base camp and that moment was really above everything, I felt so proud.
After coming back from EBC, I was honoured by many NGOs, and I also received a very warm welcome by my city mates, which also gave me more energy and motivation.
Very soon, I also got an opportunity to climb Africa’s highest peak Mt Kilimanjaro. My dad asked me if I was willing to participate in this trek, to which I readily agreed. After summiting Mt Kilimanjaro in July 2022, I became the youngest Asian girl, and my record was entered in India’s book of records and Asian book of records as well.
Both of these achievements turned out to be really life-changing experiences for me. In Africa, we used to spend our nights in tents and washrooms in open areas only. The trek was so difficult, it was completely steep and rocky. During the trek, I crossed the lava tower, and climbed the Barranco wall which is also known as the Death wall.
During our summit, we started our trekking at night around 1 am, when the weather was extremely cold. However, I continued to stay focused and determined towards my goal, which helped me reach the Mt Kilimanjaro summit.
When did you start training to become a mountaineer? Why?
I think that this is in our genes! My grandfather, Sh Surinder Kumar Sood was a very determined and hardworking person, who spent most of his life in hilly areas due to his construction work, and further my father also did the same. My father usually takes all of us to his working sites in our free time, from where I started loving trekking and exploring the hidden places around us. Even before and during the EBC trek, I did not imagine mountaineering in such a way, I just explored it on the go!
I would just like to emphasize that girls can do anything. They should feel free in free India.
On my journey as a mountaineer, I really want to promote girl power and inspire every girl to follow her dreams, no matter what.
Now that you have reached the summit in India? What is next on your wish list?
My dream is to host the Indian flag at all 7 summits of the world very soon and create awareness about fitness, girl power, determination, and focused goal.
How do you strike a balance between your adventure trails and your education?
This is just the start, but for all this while, it is my family – especially my mother who helps me a lot in my studies. She always dedicates extra time to support me preparing notes and studying. My father helps me on the sports and training front. So, in this way, I always try to maintain a balance in both. In my free time, I usually practice running and skating to prepare for my next summit.
What is your fitness mantra?
My fitness mantra is all about running, stretching, and cycling. Besides this, mental fitness is my key to success in doing anything. My family constantly encourages and supports me at every step, which helps me stay mentally resilient.
Tell us more about your pillars of support for all this while?
My family plays a very important role and acts as a strong pillar for achieving these milestones at such a young age. I firmly believe that all parents should give time to their kids. These days, in modern culture, everyone is in front of their mobile phones and television, which does no value addition in their lives. So, parents must spare time for their kids and encourage them to do physical activities of any kind. This will help our young new generation be mentally and physically fit. Fit India will lead to hit India!
One thing that you like the most about Chandigarh Tricity? Why?
Chandigarh is a beautiful city with a lot of greenery. People always follow the rules and regulations strictly, which I like the most about Tricity.
One final message for our readers.
Any person can do anything. Nothing is impossible, if you are dedicated to your goal and you have the will power to achieve it.
Most importantly, do not forget that girls can do everything. So, equal opportunities must be provided to them at every point of time.