Many people made fun of Prakash Raj Pandey when he told them he wanted to be a mountaineer. They did not trust him due to his relatively short stature and a body structure that reportedly didn’t suit climbing. On 26 June 2016, he proved them all wrong, by accenting his first peak—Baden Powell Scout Peak—and created history by being the second climber in Nepal Scout to scale Langtang.
Mountains fascinated Pandey since his childhood. Growing up in the lap of the Himalayas, it was always his dream to overcome the mighty mountains—all across the world. “The story of Tenzing Norgey Sherpa and Sir Edmund Hilary always motivated me and gave me courage to climb,” he says. In 2017, he climbed Mt. Island Peak, which paved the way for the ascent of Mt. Everest. Before trying Everest, Pandey had in 2018 scaled Ama Dablam.
Arguably the most important achievement in any mountaineer’s life is scaling the world’s highest peak, Everest. In this venture, as he was the team leader of 11 climbers, he was entrusted with great responsibility. On reaching base camp, obstacles came to him thick and fast. An avalanche hit the team. Were it not for his guide Tshering Bhote Lama, he would have died.
“Mountains are gods and the Sherpas are the worshippers. These guides are the reason climbers like me safely reach home,” Pandey says. The most important part of mountaineering is to be disciplined and to strictly follow the guide, he adds. “I guess I am alive because my guides helped me through all the difficulties.”
Pandey is also an active member of Nepal Scout and is involved in social work. Recently, with the support of V.S. Niketan School and Dynamic Scout Crew coordinated by Nepal Scouts, he organized the Free Health Campaign at Manang. He also donated to Chepang Basti and bore expenses for Shanti Chepang’s Grade X education. “I have been a member of Nepal Scout for 13 years. This may be why I am motivated to helping others in need,” he says.
Pandey was committed to helping people of Chepang community as they lacked even basic facilities. “Our donation program fell under the Scout SDGs,” Pandey says, while promising he would continue to work in mountaineering and social work simultaneously.
While submitting Everest, he came across dead bodies as well as plastic waste. Everest has comparatively more waste than Manaslu or Ama Dablam. He said the volume of waste would greatly decrease if the climbers themselves become more responsible and disciplined. He hopes to someway help with the clean-up of Everest.
Pandey proves no matter how much people try to make fun of you and your passion, self-belief and commitment to your dream pays: “When I asked for help for my climbing expedition with friends and possible sponsors, they didn’t trust me as I didn’t belong to a climbing family.”
Now, besides Everest, Pandey has scaled Manaslu (the killer mountain), Amadablam (the most beautiful and the most technical mountain in the world), Island Peak, and Baden Powell Scout Peak, the last of them twice.
This autumn he plans to climb the seven highest mountains in the seven continents which, he hopes, will also help with the promotion of Visit Nepal 2020