This article is sponsored by Mountain Dew.
An apple farmer and professional photographer had one thing in common – their love of the mountains. Pranav Rawat and Abhijeet Singh were looking for a challenge that would stretch them to their limits, a challenge where passion would be their only fuel to journey up the peak to success. If that meant doing something never attempted before in India, it was a risk worth taking.
Their goal? To attempt the first ever ascent of a frozen waterfall in India. It was a goal that was as ambitious as it was risky. Not only are frozen waterfalls a challenge due to the thick, treacherous ice, there was also no precedent for it in the country. The two knew that they were on completely unfamiliar territory here.
Plus, you don’t just go climb a frozen waterfall. You have to research, plan, and train like you’ve never trained before. A landslide at their first choice, a 60-ft waterfall in the Zanskar Valley in Ladakh, forced them to wait a year for their next opportunity. During this time, Abhijeet discovered even steeper frozen waterfalls in Himachal’s Spiti Valley. The climb would therefore be technically even more challenging. The stakes were suddenly a lot higher in climbing the Shela Waterfall; not only is it 260 feet high, it is also 12,500 feet above sea level.
If that wasn’t enough, the challenge of raising funds to back the ascent, including filming it, almost stopped them in their tracks. But the two persisted, tapping into their own network, the Indian Mountaineering Federation, crowdsourcing and backing from Mountain Dew, to make it possible.
And so the climb began. Thick ice left their hands swollen through trying to hammer in screws. Further up, the ice sheet- thin – they could see the water flowing behind it. The ascent was practically vertical all the way to the top. A single mistake and it would be all over. No second chances. Was the risk worth it? Yes, it was! The risks they had taken had paid off. Life will never be the same again, because after all, #NaamBanteHainRiskSe.