Passion drives her to scale Mount Kilimanjaro, alone
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Passion drives her to scale Mount Kilimanjaro, alone

March 16, 2023

Mysore/Mysuru: Scaling heights is what enthrals her most. Jammada Preeth Appaiah, a resident of Bannimantap in Mysuru, has recently climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain peak in Africa. She reached the summit of the highest free-standing mountain in the world at 5,895 metres (19,340 feet).

Also called a stratovolcano (a term for a very large volcano made of ash, lava, and rock), Kilimanjaro is made up of three cones — Kibo, Mawenzi and Shira. Kibo is the summit of the mountain and the tallest of the three volcanic formations. While Mawenzi and Shira are extinct, Kibo is dormant. The highest point on Kibo’s crater rim is called Uhuru.

Medical condition did not deter her

Preeth Appaiah is a housewife who had a sciatic nerve problem and doctors had advised her not to do any physical activity which could aggravate her pain. But her medical condition did not deter her from achieving the feat and her main source of inspiration is her younger son Aryan Kuttappa who went on an expedition to the Himalayas in 2018.

She went on her first expedition to Mount Bhrigu, Himachal Pradesh, in 2018. Since then, she never looked back and she has climbed many mountains like Mount Sar Pass, Valley of Flowers and the Great Lakes of Kashmir. Her instinct to climb Kilimanjaro was kindled in 2022 when a group of people from Mysuru successfully climbed Kilimanjaro.

Though she had made up her mind to go ahead and her instinct said she could do it, the advice given by her doctors against any misadventure was playing at the back of her mind. But her elder son Pratham Poonacha was a constant motivator who goaded her to pursue her passion.

Preeth Appaiah then spoke to various persons in Mysuru and booked an agency for the trekking and the training started under the mentorship of Yoga Guru Mahadeva. She left Mysuru on Mar. 2 and began the actual trek to Kilimanjaro on Mar. 3. She returned to Mysuru on Mar. 11 after scaling the mountain on Mar. 8.

Not an easy task

“I tried coaxing people to come along but none from Mysuru came along. But I was determined to go and took the yellow fever shot and set the rucksack in order and went to the airport to board for Kilimanjaro. It was not an easy task for a woman to travel alone and in the journey, you do not know if there will be anyone coming along on the trek from the Marangu Gate in Tanzania,” she told Star of Mysore.

Preeth Appaiah trekked through the rainforest to Mandara Hut and from here she went to Horombo Hut and reached Kibo Hut walking amidst the Alpine Desert. “The view of Mount Kibo is just mesmerising but here I was totally out of shape due to altitude sickness. But as advised by my mentors, I took lots of liquids to keep myself hydrated. From Horombo Hut, I trekked to Kibo Hut which is physically challenging and steep too,” she added.

From here, many return. “But in my case, I had overcome altitude sickness and was going well and finally had a good rest. Mar. 8, 2023, International Women’s Day coincided with my summit feat and I got on to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro,” she said. She started the final walk on Mar. 7 at 11 pm and reached the summit at 8 am on Mar. 8.

“It was an enthralling moment of my life as I set foot on Kilimanjaro via Gilman’s Point. It was not an arduous task. After walking more than 10 hours, I reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro and Uhuru,” she recalled.

It was a proud moment, she said as she held the National Tricolour. This would not have been possible without the support of her husband Jammada M. Aiyanna, who is an advocate in Mysuru. Preeth is the daughter of Hon. Captain late Kunjiyanda Appaiah and Gowramma couple. Her brother Kunjiyanda Machaiah (Machu) is a wildlife photographer.

“Before trekking to Kilimanjaro, I used to keep the mountain photo as my mobile phone status and was dreaming of scaling it one day. Now that I have accomplished the feat, I feel fulfilled. I want to continue this passion and scale more peaks,” she said.

Preeth Appaiah was initially trained in mountaineering by Tiger Solanki of Tiger Adventure Foundation (TAF) and later on by Vinay Singh and Shankar Subramanya of Royal Riders and the International Academy of Mountaineering and Allied Sports.


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