Engineering Alums Traverse the Himalayas to Mt. Everest

The day after the University's 256th Commencement ceremony, Rudra Pampati (BE'12) and Stewart Mein (BE/EE'12) set off to Nepal to trek across the Himalayas to the Base Camp of Mt. Everest. After spending more than two weeks in Nepal, the pair traveled over 80 miles and climbed 2700 meters.

The trek was the culmination of Pampati (above, right) and Mein's (above, left) undergraduate experience and, according to the students "proved to be our most difficult as well as rewarding experience yet." In the first days of the trek they traveled through oxygen-rich Himalayan valleys, home to lush forests, and rustic villages, inhabited by farmers, herders and families. Later days included much more difficult trails, oxygen levels at half of what they were accustomed to, and temperatures below freezing. Because their diet was limited to boiled rice, soup and eggs, staying healthy quickly became one of the most difficult endeavors of the trek. After climbing past 2400 meters, Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) became a health concern.

Succeeding these trails and small villages loomed the tallest mountains in the world, each one more breathtaking than the last. Listening to the echoes of a cracking glacier from miles away gave Pampati and Mein a better hint of their magnitude. Prior to the descent, they reached the Mt. Everest Base Camp (5350 m), and peaked at the infamous Kala Patthar view point (5550 m) the following morning to watch the sunrise behind Mt. Everest and the surrounding peaks.

This fall, Pampati will begin studying at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, and Mein is currently working in Biotechnology at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany.