N. Elanghovan’s sense of pride soared as he witnessed the Jalur Gemilang fluttering majestically atop the mountains he climbed. This pride, he says, made every sacrifice worthwhile, including selling his house to conquer three of the world's highest peaks.

Elanghovan's achievements are particularly remarkable given that he accomplished these feats in his 60s, a time when many of his peers are spending their days in leisure.

"I feel very proud to be able to hoist the Jalur Gemilang every time I finish my climbing mission, with the incredible beauty of the view from the top of the mountain. All the sacrifices made are worth it," he told Bernama.

The 65-year-old climber successfully conquered the world’s three highest peaks in six years, with his latest triumph being Mount Denali in Alaska, USA, on June 30 last year. His journey began with the ascent of Kilimanjaro (5,895 meters) in 2018, followed by Mount Everest (8,849 meters) four years later, and culminating with Mount Denali (6,190 meters) after a grueling 23-day expedition.

Elanghovan shared that the climb up Mount Denali was the most challenging due to extreme weather conditions, with temperatures plummeting to -30 degrees Celsius, accompanied by strong winds and snowstorms.

“Mount Denali’s expedition is more challenging than Mount Everest. I completed the climb in five stages (Camps 1 to 5) carrying all my own equipment. When we reached Camp 4, we had to stay in a tent for three days because of uncertain weather... snowstorms and whiteouts with visibility reduced to less than 10 meters. A single misstep could have led to falling into a crevasse,” he recounted.

Reflecting on his experiences, Elanghovan expressed empathy for the recent incident involving three stranded climbers on Mount Denali, one of whom tragically died. He emphasized the severe risks climbers face, including frostbite, High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE), High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE), and hypothermia.

“Alaska, located within the Arctic Circle, experiences 24-hour daylight from May to mid-July. The harsh conditions, lack of food, and extreme cold can lead to hypothermia, HACE, or HAPE,” he explained.

Elanghovan, who now resides in Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan, disclosed that he spent approximately RM40,000 on his Mount Denali expedition, covering expenses such as flight tickets and equipment. “If I had opted for guided climbs, it would have cost an additional US$12,000, so I decided to proceed independently,” he added, noting that he funded his Mount Everest climb from his own savings.

Acknowledging the significant financial demands of his passion, Elanghovan is grateful for the unwavering support of his wife and two children, who have always stood by him despite the high risks involved.

“I sold a second house in Shah Alam, Selangor for RM300,000 to cover the expenses of this activity, including the Mount Denali expedition,” he revealed.

Raised in Cameron Highlands, where his childhood home was near forests and hills, Elanghovan’s early experiences in nature laid the foundation for his climbing pursuits. “The forest is like my second home,” he said, having climbed all 20 of the highest mountains in Malaysia.

Elanghovan embarked on serious climbing activities in his 50s, seeking to maintain his physical and mental health post-retirement. “There is no such thing as being too late. Anyone can venture into any field or at least choose an activity that can be enjoyed in old age. The most important thing is to maintain good health and nutrition,” he advised.

Looking ahead, Elanghovan hopes his success in scaling the world’s three highest peaks will pave the way for collaborations that will help him achieve his mission of climbing the seven highest mountains on each continent.

“I want to complete the Seven Summits. Cost plays a significant role, so I hope to find partners to support this mission. Despite my age, I am confident in my physical fitness and readiness to share my knowledge and experience with others, especially young people,” he said.

Elanghovan’s next targets include Mount Elbrus (5,642 meters) in Russia, Mount Aconcagua (6,961 meters) in Argentina, Mount Vinson Massif (4,892 meters) in Antarctica, and Mount Kosciuszko (2,228 meters) in Australia.

Source / Image Credit : Fokus Bernama