Chennai: A Chennai environmentalist, who uses paddling as a means to sensitise about conservation of water bodies, has donned another successful tag by paddling on a lake near the world’s third highest motorable pass last week.
The three-time Limca book recorder is now the first person in the world to have paddled on Tsoltak Lake, situated at an altitude of 16,618 feet.
M. Kumaran, a geologist and a paddler, had to battle acute mountain sickness to perform stand up paddling at a Himalayan lake, Tsoltak near Chang La pass.
He has thus surpassed a previous record attempt of paddling at Suraj Tal Lake, which is at the altitude of 16,000 feet. His plan to paddle at Pangong and Tsomoriri in Ladakh region faced many obstacles due to curfew in Srinagar.
“We could not follow the initial plan of flying to Srinagar due to curfew there. We took a road trip from Delhi to Leh via Manali by crossing world’s three highest motorable passes,” Kumaran said.
“Even though we took proper breaks, we suffered mild to moderate acute mountain sickness, feeling headache and shortness of breath,” he added.
The clear September weather and non-frozen waters of the crystal blue lake near Chang La pass facilitated Kumaran to paddle for 45 minutes.. It was risky as a fall in glacier water could result in hypothermia, a dangerous drop in body temperature.
“My previous paddling experiences on choppy sea waters at Chennai coast and on other water bodies helped me to paddle without a fall,” he said. Paddling in Himalayan lakes is often met with many challenges – both climatological and religious.
“Many high altitude lakes have a religious connection and do not allow human intervention. A few of the high altitude lakes are at Indo-China border, making it difficult to obtain permission,” he said....