At 51,this senior police inspector still goes trekking into the Himalayas every year,to keep alive his memories of peaks conquered
With a thick mop of snow white hair and a silver beard,Senior Police Inspector Sanjay Rangnekar from the Mumbai Polices welfare department does not look like Sylvester Stallone in Cliffhanger. But the stocky policeman is the only police officer in the country to not only participate in expeditions in the Himalayas but also to conquer Mt Kilimanjaro,the tallest peak in Africa.
As a native of Goa,he says,it was just a matter of time before he developed a love for the outdoors. As a kid,whenever I used to visit my native place with my parents,I would venture to the hilly regions and explore the mountains,because of which I developed a love for the mountains at an early age. During my college days,I became a member of the college trekking group and went for my first trek at Matheran in the year 1974, says Rangnekar,51. The trekking enthusiast boasts of having trekked across almost all forts in Maharashtra,also learning rock climbing along the way.
After joining the police department in the year 1984,Rangnekars first significant conquest was the peak known as the Dukes Nose at Khandala,which had been unconquered until Rangekars team decided to climb the peak. Rangnekar says,The peak is so named because it is shaped like the nose of a person and the incline is very steep on one end. In 1984,we decided to climb the Dukes Nose which was 800 feet high with a dangerous overhang of 300 feet. We were the first team to climb the Dukes Nose and we kept doing it on many occasions after the first experience.
Besides other treks came the chance of a lifetime when Rangnekar got an invite from an organisation called Cave Explorers to join their team which was to go atop a virgin peak in the Himalayas called Suli Top. The Suli Top was the first Himalayan expedition after which I went for many other such expeditions. Now,I have completed expeditions to seven peaks in the Himalayan range, says Rangnekar.
Rangnekar then went on to climb Mt Kilimanjaro,the highest peak in Africa,at his own expense. I knew that I had to climb the peak. And,since there were no available sponsors,I decided to do it on my own financial strength and took my family to Africa too,where I climbed the peak, he said.
Today,Rangnekar is somewhat too old for the tough expeditions he undertook without batting an eyelid in his youth. However,his spirit remains as big as the mountains he used to trek. Expeditions require a high level of physical stamina and mental toughness and such expeditions cannot be undertaken at this age. However,I still make it a point to visit the Himalayas for trekking every year, he says with a hint of nostalgia in his eyes about his various adventures.