Mumbai, 28th August 2022: Yogesh Prakash Badgujar and Praneet Machhindra Shelke of the Mumbai Fire Brigade of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation successfully reached the top summit of Mount Elbrus, the highest mountain peak in Europe, during Indian Independence Day – 15th August 2022 – at 11 a.m (IST).
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation firefighters braved the harsh weather and successfully completed the climb. On the occasion of this proud performance, celebrating the Amrit Mahotsav of Indian Independence and braving harsh weather conditions, Prakash Badgujar and Praneet Machhindra Shelke proudly hoisted the Indian national flag and the flag of the Mumbai Fire Brigade on Mount Elbrus.
The Mumbai Fire Brigade of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is headquartered at Byculla. Both firemen Yogesh Prakash Badgujar and Praneet Machchindra Shelke, who are currently working in the control room at Byculla headquarters, are fond of mountaineering. Even after joining the fire brigade service of the Municipal Corporation in 2017, they continue to practice mountain climbing to cultivate their physical and mental abilities. They also aim to climb the seven highest mountain peaks on all seven continents. Badgujar and Shelke have already successfully climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak. They further achieved another honour by simultaneously scaling Mount Elbrus, now in southwest Russia.
Mount Elbrus is the highest peak (18,505 feet) in the Caucasus Mountain range in Europe. Located in southwest Russia and situated between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, the summit is considered moderately challenging, but the weather here is very capricious. Frequent snow storms throughout the year, temperatures dropping to -25 degrees, and the cold have claimed the lives of many climbers here. Despite this, Yogesh Badgujar and Praneet Shelke accepted the challenge.
Both of them reached Russia on August 10, 2022, by air after obtaining due permission from the Municipal Corporation. All the procedures of obtaining approval from the local administration and preliminary tests of climbing were also carried out. Determined to reach the summit on India’s Independence Day, they began the trek to Mount Elbrus from the base camp at Garabasi on 14th August 2022, at 1 a.m. Visibility was very low during the entire journey. Nothing was visible beyond a distance of 15 feet. 45 to 50 km per hour gales with icicles, -25 to -30 degree temperature, and blowing snow due to high winds, acted as tough challenges. Yogesh Badgujar and Praneet Shelke reached the summit at 11 a.m. on 15th August. There, they also proudly hoisted the two flags. It took them around eight hours to reach the summit, and they reached back to the base camp at half past noon. After braving the tough weather for about 12.30 hours straight, the duo accomplished their goal. Interestingly, none other than his four-member Indian team managed to reach the summit on August 15. Four teams from other countries withdrew from the half due to inclement weather.
Both of them have set a goal of climbing the world’s highest peak Mount Everest (8848.86 m / 29,031 ft) in 2024, and are aiming to climb other expeditions in the future. Through such performance, they intend to spread the reputation of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and Mumbai Fire Brigade around the world.
Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal, Additional Municipal Commissioner (Eastern Suburbs) Ashwini Bhide, Joint Commissioner (Reforms) Keshav Ubale, Chief Fire Officer Hemant Parab, and various dignitaries have congratulated Badgujar and Shelke on their achievement.