Meet the Mountain Man of J&K

Colonel Ranveer Singh Jamwal is the man who has forced the mighty Himalayas to surrender before his determination and dedication not only once, twice but thrice.
In an interaction with Excelsior Correspondent
Amit Katoch, he talked about his experiences of
climbing Mt Everest and preparation for the
coming expeditions

Q  Tell us about your school life and when you started dreaming  of donning the Army uniform?
A  I am a product of Army School Ratnuchak and frankly speaking, I was a back bencher, remained an average student but really had a good hand in sports. Immediately after passing from the school in 1994 I joined Army as a Jawan/Sepoy in rank. But as far as donning this uniform is considered, it was a natural choice for me as two generations already in my family had the privilege to don this for serving  the  country. So, I didn’t have the better choice but to continue this family tradition of serving the country through uniform.
Q  Why did you join Army as a Sepoy /Jawan and not as an officer?
A  The people or youth who keep reservations and negativity to lower ranks do lack either vision or probably it is their Achille’s heel. But in my case I am lucky that I had started from roots as a Sepoy/Jawan .It has helped me to know the Alpha and Omega of my profession in a clear way. It has helped me in developing a character which understands the nitty-gritties of how a Sepoy/Jawan lives and thinks.  So, serving country as a Sepoy/Jawan has made me a better soldier, officer and now a better mountaineer.
Q  What attracted you towards mountaineering and how tough or easy it was to summit Mt. Everest three times?
A  Jazbaa and Junoon- is the first requirement and the passion that I do have for mountaineering kept me going strong .Seriously, it is not that easy to get enlisted in Mt. Everest Selection process. But my years  hard work and learning process in mountaineering finally paid me when I received a selection call for expedition to Mt. Everest in 2011. By that time I had more than ten expeditions and requisite experience to my credit to climb Mt. Everest. The world’s highest peak at 8848 metres was conquered on May 25, 2012, second time it was on May 19, 2013 and scaled Mount Everest for third time on May 19, 2016. But believe me climbing Mt Everest and summiting it three times is not that easy. Quixotic approach and planning is like playing with your life. Therefore, one needs to be very meticulous in learning the techniques and principles of mountaineering . So my strategy was to take one mountain at a time and prepare accordingly.
Q  Share your experience of leading women team to Mt. Everest in 2012?
A  Yes, infact I was the deputy leader of this expedition team when I took those women to the top of Mt. Everest. I seriously admit here that they were much more stronger than men in their approach. Truly, without any doubt, they had that mettle in them and I feel really proud that I got the opportunity to lead such an inspired and motivated women team to the Mt. Everest.
Q  Share your experience and horrible memories of earthquake that occurred on April 25,2015.
A  I will start by saying that we were destined to be alive actually in that earthquake. Our team was at the most dangerous glaciers i.e. Khumbu glacier and without any delay we started moving down to the base camp. It was all ruined as there were dead bodies and injured people all around us. For me, it was a tough time but certainly Army is made for such tough situations so our team decided to stay there. We were left with only three tents, rest everything in debris. We started the rescue operation by providing people food, medicines and shelter. We stayed there for 15 days .It was a tough experience but team India was in high spirit to evacuate the trapped people of multiple nations in that earthquake. In these conditions also the Tricolor was unfurling high there.
Q  How much  are climatic changes affecting the glaciers in Himalayas since you closely observed these places?
A  Yes, this is a very serious issue and I have personally observed the receding of glaciers at an alarming rate from the past few years. As  in 2016 the mercury and melting were both very high as compared to the observations made during 2012 expedition. Certainly, this is not a good sign for Himalayas both in terms of environment and climate. The Government has a deep concern for the climatic issues and we as responsible  mountaineers always do timely cleaning campaigns in the area. We neither put any rubbish nor burn anything in these glaciers. We try to get everything back and this is the way we contribute to save our glaciers and mountains. The redressal of this issue indeed needs a holistic approach.
Q  As a professional mountaineer how do you see the future of mountaineering or sports in J&K?
A  J&K has no dearth of talent but the sportsmen/players need support both at ministry and monetary levels to perform better. And in this direction a good sports policy of the J&K state can be a game changer. It will help the individual sportsperson to excel and grow. In this case the State of Haryana is the best example for all. Large number of sportspersons are emerging and performing there because state is investing and taking care of its every individual player. Even in ‘Khelo India’ Haryana has performed better to rest of the states. Players representing Haryana in National, Asian or Commonwealth games are being rewarded and paid with good amounts. This is what Jammu and Kashmir direly needs to follow. All these initiatives are important to boost the morale of sportsman/players. Hope J&K Government will soon find a way forward in this direction.
Q  Where does India stand in the use of technology in mountaineering?
A  As per my opinion countries  other than India are doing better in mountaineering technology. Foreign countries are better equipped than us but if we see mountaineering wise we have done exceptionally well as in the past few years Indians were highest in number who climbed the Mt. Everest. So both in mountaineering and adventure we are taking a lead . But certainly it will take time to manufacture our own equipments and technology. India has already initiated into that process and soon in the coming time we will have our own manufactured equipments.
Q  What will be your message to youth?
A  Hard work is the key to success that’s why God has placed fingers before our palm lines so that we could use these fingers to do some work. Do good whatever you believe in with full determination, devotion and dedication. Definitely you will achieve success and your dreams will be fulfilled.