Indian couple who ‘conquered Everest’ are caught by the real climber: photoshop may also help in climbing Everest
Kathmandu, June 30: Dinesh and Tarakeshwari Rathod, who are both police officers from Pune, India, announced in a press conference on June 5 that they’d made it to the top of the world’s highest mountain on May 23. The boss of Kathmandu-based climbing company Makalu Adventure says that his sherpas helped them make the ascent and that they even have climbing certificates from the Nepalese authorities.
Climber Satyarup Siddhanta posted a message on his Facebook page alleging that pictures of him at the summit of Everest had been ‘stolen’ and subsequently altered by the Rathods. Two climbers who claim that they became the first couple to conquer Everest are being investigated by police after allegedly faking photographs of their achievement.
He wrote: ‘This is so so so amazing!!!!!!!! They took my pics and Photoshopped their image of summit… And got certificates too… Where is mountaineering going????? Shame on you officers from Pune!’.
Two photographs appeared underneath his claim. One of a climber in a yellow jacket giving the thumbs up at what appears to be the Everest summit, another showing a group of climbers huddled together on the ground. Oxygen masks are being worn in both pictures.
He also posted a link to a Buzzfeed report on the controversy.
The group shot appears on the Makalu Adventure website in a story with the headline ‘Indian couple conquers Mount Everest, sets record’ and the caption ‘Dinesh and Tarkeshwari Rathod at Summit of Mt Everest’.
The picture of the man giving the thumbs up has also been posted by Makalu Adventure under the same headline and with the same caption, but it has a few differences.
The person in the photograph is now holding an Indian flag, has a woman’s face and is wearing different-coloured leggings.
The rest of the picture is almost identical.
Software consultant Satyarup Siddhanta, 33, from Bangalore, who summited Everest on May 21 this year, told MailOnline: ‘I don’t know whether the family summited or not. I was not there to see that. All I want is those pictures of mine should not be misused. Those pictures mean a lot to me. Fortunately I have our summit video, or else someone could have pointed the finger at me.
‘Makalu Adventure put a watermark on the morphed picture. What a shame.
‘People who have closely followed our climb for past two years knows what went behind the climb. That summit picture is not just a summit picture. It has stains of the death of three close friends. It has stains of debt, it has stains of trauma caused by the death of a Sherpa in front of our eyes, it has stains of unparalleled risk.’
Further suspicion has been thrown on the Rathod’s claim by the fact that they appear in another picture on the face of Everest, on the icefall, wearing completely different jackets, boots and gloves.
Gavin Bate, 50, a climber who’s summited Everest six times told MailOnline that it’s ‘inconceivable’ that a climber would change their jackets and boots on an Everest climb because it’s simply too cold and tiring to do so.
He said: ‘You’re too knackered, it’s too windy and it’s too cold. I’ve been up six times and it’s inconceivable that you’d take a second pair of summit boots and a second down jacket.’
Another climber, Anjali Kulkarni, weighed into the row by stating that she’d met the Rathods at base camp on May 10 and that they hadn’t started training or acclimatising at that point.
She told Buzzfeed: ‘If a team has not started acclimatisation until May 10, it is close to impossible to reach the summit on May 23.’
However, Makalu Adventure boss Mohan Lamsal told the BBC he had ‘no doubt’ about the Rathod’s claims and that their certificates had been issued after they’d been carefully interviewed by the Nepalese authorities.
MailOnline has contacted the Rathods and Makalu Adventure for a comment.
A senior Pune police official told the BBC that they were trying to clarify the facts surrounding the controversy.