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Malli Mastan Babu (b Sept 10, 1974 - d March 24, 2015), a man who loved heights and made friends with mountain peaks has become an everlasting source of inspiration for those who aspire to be ‘on top of the world’.
A mountaineer, marathoner and swimmer from Nellore, Andhra Pradesh, he was the first Indian and South Asian to complete Seven Summits (highest peaks on the seven continents) in just 172 days in 2006. Interestingly, he made it a point to ascend the seven peaks on seven days of a week — thus Mt Everest (Asia) on a Sunday, Mt Denali (North America) on a Monday, Mt Elbrus (Europe) on a Tuesday, Mt Kilimanjaro (Africa) on a Wednesday, Mt Vinson Massif (Antarctica) on a Thursday, Mt Aconcagua (South America) on a Friday, Mt Kosciusko (Australia) on a Saturday. He was the first Indian to climb Vinson Massif, to climb Mt Aconcagua twice and Mt Kilimanjaro thrice.
After completing the Seven Summits, he had turned his focus on the Andean peaks in South America. He wanted to climb the 14 highest peaks of the Andes. On March 24, 2015, he was descending after a successful summit of Tres Cruces Sur (6,749 m) in a region between Argentina and Chile when weather deteriorated badly and he went missing. Putting an end to days of hopeful searches, his body was found on April 3, 2015. But, by then Malli had conquered his life’s summit too!