Chandigarh, Aug 12: Commemorating 76 years of Independence, Gurjot Singh Kaler, a senior police officer in Punjab, scaled and unfurled the tricolour on the top of Mount Elbrus -- the highest and most prominent peak in Russia and Europe.
Kaler, a professionally-trained mountaineer, was adjudged the best mountaineer during his Basic Mountaineering Course (BMC) at the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM) at Uttarkashi in Uttarakhand.
His recent feat is noteworthy considering that the Caucasus’ tallest mountain, Mount Elbrus, is 5,642 metres (18,510 feet) above sea level.
There were four others in Kaler’s team, which reached the top of Mount Elbrus on August 11 at 7 a.m. after battling heavy snowstorms, thunderstorms and atmospheric lightning.
Mount Elbrus is covered in snow through out around and is home to 22 glaciers that feed three rivers -- Baksan, Malka and Kuban. Elbrus is part of the Caucasus mountain range, near the Georgian border in the south of Russia.
The Caucasus technically sits in Asia and Europe, although most geographers place it in Europe. It’s a mountain range that spans two continents.
Committed to the spirit of combating climate change and global warming, the mission of Mount Elbrus was dedicated by Kaler to exhort the world community to preserve the environment and create awareness about depleting forest reserves across the planet and melting of glaciers.
“It took five days to successfully do the summit after acclimatisation hikes to Mount Cheget and Pastukhov Rocks. The weather was very turbulent on the day of the summit and there was a lot of lightning and thunderstorms which made the climb very difficult,” Kaler told IANS over phone.
At one point, it looked impossible but the sheer willpower, perseverance and determination served him in good stead throughout the adventurous expedition.
“It is only in tough circumstances that we can test the real toughness of mind,” he said.
Kaler has become the first Punjab Police officer to scale Mount Elbrus. Earlier, he had successfully climbed the summit of the highest mountain in the African Continent -- Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
The daredevil officer had also performed a skydive from 15,000 feet during the Covid pandemic to serve as a heartfelt tribute of bravery and courage to the corona warriors who had sacrificed their lives during the pandemic.
He’s currently handling the charge of AIG (Excise and Taxation) and was awarded with the Chief Minister's Medal for outstanding devotion to duty in January 2023. He was also conferred with the Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh Raj Yuva Puraskar by the government of Punjab in March 2023 for his fight against drug abuse in Punjab and for promoting the culture of sports.
Kaler feels that his efforts in terms of climbing Mount Ebrus will go a long way in awakening the world community to join hands for combating climate change.
He admits that global warming and climate change is a grim reality of “our times and every region on earth is impacted by our actions”.
“Even the recent ghastly floods in Punjab and Himachal can be attributed to lack of ecological balance and disregard to the Mother Earth. Therefore, it’s very important to understand the precarious situation through which the entire humanity is passing through right now and take concerted actions before its too late.
“Rather, the truth is that we are already quite late in combating global climate change and if we continue to ignore the warnings of Mother Nature, a day will come when everything will be simply lost forever,” Kaler added. (IANS)