As I sit down to write a blog post for Cinthol’s “Relish the Challenge” campaign for the third week in a row, I see myself in the middle of nowhere and part of a unique expedition that has set a world record.

Exactly, two months ago I met April Zilg a friend of mine in a tiny cafe deep down in Kovalam, Kerala. We discussed a possible Stand Up Paddle expedition in higher altitudes of Himalayas. The idea sounded somewhat offbeat and very challenging to me since no one else has ever stood up paddled beyond 6,000 ft altitude, whereas our expedition would actually begin at 12,000 ft and go beyond.

 Next few weeks, things had slowly started to build up with a lot of training, preparations, and detailing of the expedition. I was going to be the photographer documenting this epic expedition with my buddy Kiran Kumar taking part too with April leading the expedition.

Once, we began our journey from Manali towards Ladakh, the challenge that laid ahead of us was to pass through some of the highest mountain passes in the world, get acclimatized to altitude sickness, weather, and extreme terrains. But then, a lot of travelers, bikers, and locals do that every day and it is certainly not an uncommon thing. The real challenge that we were up to was to explore large water bodies and river rapids, take out our inflatable SUP boards, pump them up, and paddle in the freezing waters at higher altitudes. In normal conditions, Stand Up Paddling requires good balance, strength, and endurance. In our case, we needed more than all of these, 10 times fold!

Next few days we were gasping for air with our hearts pounding more than ever and shivering ourselves in freezing temperatures, we Stand Up Paddled in some of the world’s highest lakes and grade four river rapids at an altitude of 16,000 ft setting a world record for Stand Up Paddle. It was a great physical and mental endurance to overcome many challenges every day from the simplest things like finding good food/shelter to battling out tough terrains and weather conditions.

In a few months time, our expedition will be featured around the world in many different magazines and editorials and the joy of achieving something which no one has ever done, gives us very distinct happiness which can’t be expressed in words, maybe sometimes that can be just called “Alive is Awesome” feeling.

Even blogging for Cinthol’s “Relish the Challenge” campaign has been very demanding because of lack of connectivity, time and circumstances I am in, but I still take great pleasure in sharing all my adventures and challenges with Cinthol always.

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