Becoming a Summit Seeker

My Y Story: Murali Prabhala

 

Murali PrabhalaMurali’s Y Story: Becoming a Summit Seeker

Imagine climbing up the icy slopes of a mountain. The air is thin, and each step you take needs to be a well-placed one. For longtime YMCA member Murali Prabhala, these are just a few of the experiences he has had climbing some of the mountains in the Himalayas. And at first all he did to train for it was some basic exercises and tennis at his local YMCA.

Imagine climbing up the icy slopes of a mountain. The air is thin, and each step you take needs to be a well-placed one. You need to remember that talking at this altitude needs to be slow. Otherwise, you might lose your breath before you can finish speaking. It has only been a few days now, but with the sun starting to set, you think it’s a good time to set up camp. You’ll need to climb downwards a bit so your body can better adjust to elevation. Since there isn’t a base camp nearby, you’ll need to set up your own tent, with no electricity or heating provided.

For longtime YMCA member Murali Prabhala, these are just a few of the experiences he has had climbing some of the mountains in the Himalayas. Murali’s mountain climbing journey started when an old college friend came to visit him in New Hampshire. The pandemic had still been active, but the trees were in such a nice shade of autumn that he wanted to show him all the beautiful scenery. It was some time after a trip together looking at the various ranges the state offers that he took it upon himself to try hiking up one. Murali fell in love with the activity of hiking so soon after his first few local climbs he set his sights higher. He got his winter clothes, hydration pack, and other survival items needed and set off to the Himalayas. His first trek was to Everest Base Camp with his friend along with a sherpa (guide), and a porter, his next climb was with his son to Annapurna Base Camp, his most recent climb, however, was with a group of climbers to summit Pangarchulla Peak.

Murali Prabhala at Everest Base Camp

Having now climbed three Himalayan mountains and even reaching the Everest base camp, mountain climbing is now one of his favorite athletic activities. Yet if you ask him what he did to train, you’d be surprised with what he had to say. Not only did Murali not take any sort of altitude training for the trek, but most of his workouts before his first climb were at the Y where he visits daily, participating in weight lifts, some track and cardio, and a good amount of tennis. Originally he and his family took out a membership so that he could provide swim, basketball and volleyball lessons for his kids. But as they got older Murali made use of it himself. As far as Murali was concerned, he just “went to the YMCA for workouts and to play tennis.” Since then, he has changed his routine to include the Stairmaster stating that “I didn’t want to do it, but I started challenging myself.”  Murali felt using that equipment would prepare his legs for the climbing and serve as training.

Murali Prabhala on a mountain top

According to him, “Consistency is the key.” and he’s grateful that he can get that at the Y. He noticed that when you have a consistent schedule at the YMCA not only know when you missed a day, but you will start to meet “all the amazing people at the Y,” from its members to its staff. He’ll even go to the nearest YMCA with Nationwide Membership where he can when he’s out of town just to keep up that consistency. Nationwide Membership is a program where members of the Y, may visit another participating Y anywhere in the country and use the facility.  This is a great benefit for those that may travel or just want to check out another YMCA.

Hiking up and down those mountains can take anywhere between seven to nine days. So when you make it to the top there is a lot to take in. For Murali what drives him to climb is “The views, the calmness” And he always sticks to his tradition of doing a few push-ups at the peak. Reminding everyone that the climb up a mountain starts before you reach the mountains base and continues even after you reach the top.

 


Your support helps the Y empower members like Murali Prabhala to reach new heights, discover new passions, and achieve fitness and wellness goals. By donating to our Y campaign, you provide essential resources for our health programs, inspiring more individuals to reach their own personal peaks.

 

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