14 May, 2021

Mount Plunder

The tawdry reasons behind Indian climbers faking summits of Mt Everest and the alarming loopholes in the system that enable them to tell the tallest of tales

Closest to the Heavens
Mount Everest, halved and coloured by the sun, the ultimate prize for mountaineers
Image Courtesy: Depositphotos
Mount Plunder

Charlatanry has seldom aimed so high. Narender Singh Yadav, 26, a Haryana resident who was to receive the Tenzing Norgay Award, India’s highest recognition in adventure sports, from President Ramnath Kovind on August 29, has gone incommunicado after the government decided to withhold it. The decision came after several Indian mountaineers pointed out on social media that Yadav never climbed Mt. Everest in 2016 and that his photo on top of the world was morphed.

Subsequently, the Nepal government launched a probe into Yadav’s claims, which they had approved in 2016. If his claim is found to be false, Nepal may rescind the certificate issued to him, as it did for a Pune-based police couple who in 2016 made similar claims and were called out as liars.

By the time the government decided to withhold Yadav’s award, reports by German mountaineering journalist Stefan Nestler, American adventure travel writer Kraig Becker and American mountaineer-cum-chronicler Allan Arnette had spread the news among the mountaineering community around the world: ...

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