Om Madan Garg: Om traveled to Nepal’s south base camp in 10 days with his parents in October. After a 65-kilometer trek, they arrived at the camp’s elevation of 5,364 meters. The Singapore Book of Records has recognized Indian-born six-year-old Om Madan Garg for becoming the youngest Singaporean to complete the Everest Base Camp trek in Nepal.
In October, Om traveled with his parents during a 10-day period, trekking 65 kilometers to the south base camp in Nepal, which is located at a height of 5,364 meters. The adventurous youngster is no stranger to travel; ever since he was just two and a half months old, his parents have taken him on backpacking trips to Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos.
With the help of a guide and two porters, Om, his mother Gayatri Mahendram, 39, and parents Mayur Garg, 38, and Gayatri Garg, 39, began their 10-day trip on September 28. The entire trip was chronicled in seven parts on the family’s travel channel on YouTube, The Brave Tourist.
Om, a Kindergarten 2 student from Canossaville Preschool, stated, “I want to explore the whole world.” Om’s 65 kilometer trip led him past isolated villages, Nepalese temples and monasteries, and picturesque views of Himalayan mountains including the Everest, Lhotse, and Lhotse Sar. Om and his parents were on a once-in-a-lifetime excursion, and as the going got tough on the crooked and rough pathways up to the Everest Base Camp, lollipops, raisins, and cookies kept Om going.
Mayur, a senior business analyst who enjoys mountain climbing and has scaled summits in Tanzania, Russia, and Indonesia, had visited Everest Base Camp in November 2021 and felt a family trip there would be enjoyable.
The family made it a point to stay active every day for six months ahead to the trip in order to get ready for it. They also viewed YouTube videos of other trekkers who had documented their route.
We commute by foot from our home in Yio Chu Kang to the Marina Bay Sands district, which is around 10 kilometers away. We go for four to five hours, but we never stop, said Mayur. The regimen also included trips to places like Fort Canning, swimming, and climbing stairs.
Fort Canning was challenging because we had to climb and descend 30 flights of stairs. However, because it was challenging throughout our training, Om noted that it was simple when they arrived at Everest Base Camp.
Even for adults, the high-altitude hike’s elevation rise of roughly 2,500 m is difficult. The group left the Nepalese hamlet of Lukla, which is located 2,860 meters above sea level, and traveled to the Sherpa capital of Namche Bazaar (3,440 meters) and the frozen lake bed of Gorakshep (5,164 meters), all of which are on the way to the Everest Base Camp (5,364 m).
The family’s original itinerary was for a 13-day hike so they could cover 5 km per day at a leisurely pace. But because of the severe weather, their helicopter trip to Lukla’s Tenzing-Hillary Airport, renowned as the world’s most perilous airport, was postponed for two days.
In particular, on the first day when they traveled 12 kilometers to the village of Benkar, the family had to make up for lost time by covering more ground each day. “Om managed and continued, but toward the end, I started experiencing some headaches and altitude sickness. The entire route is uphill, so it’s challenging,” said Gayatri, a senior physiotherapist, remembering the first day of the voyage.
On the second night of the expedition, Om became ill. “I was feeling awful and my stomach was disturbed. I only had three pairs of trousers, but I had to change my pants three times. I had to put my pants in freezing, cold water to wash them,” he remarked. Om’s parents continued, saying that after getting some rest and taking some medication from a nearby drugstore, he was able to complete the trek.
“There was a strategy for every conceivable circumstance. Tickets for the helicopter were already reserved. We planned to fly back if something goes wrong, stated Mayur. Thankfully, there weren’t any serious setbacks for the remainder of the journey.
While on the walk, the family would get up at 6 am every day, eat breakfast, and then set out on the trail about 8 am.
They would travel for a few hours, stop for lunch, and then continue until 3 o’clock, when they would retire for the day to one of the neighborhood tea establishments.
To pass the time, Gayatri recalled, “We packed all these tiny card games to play with Om, and we had notepads, so we’d also play games like tic-tac-toe.” Due to the cold and the lack of activities available after dark, they retired to bed around 7 o’clock. Other trekkers were in awe when they saw the small youngster on the trail. A group of six Singaporeans donated Om their team T-shirt as a memento when the family first met them.
Mayur explains that when they saw someone so small accomplishing what they were doing, “they were extremely emotional.” He referred to the 150-meter-high suspension bridge that is a well-liked photo stop along the route and stated, “My favorite part of the journey is the Hillary Bridge since it’s taller than all the other bridges.
The family’s arrival at the base camp on October 7 in the late afternoon was a source of pride. Gayatri remarked, “It was so weird to feel all those feelings, tension, and pressure.
Om praised his accomplishment by saying, “I felt good, I did something I’ve never done before.”