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This Indian Couple Claimed To Be The First To Scale Mount Everest, But It Was All An Elaborate Hoax

Fellow mountaineers have come forward with hard evidence to expose the couple's intricate web of lies.

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On 8 June, multiple news outlets reported that Pune couple Dinesh and Tarkeshwari Rathod had become the first Indian couple to scale Mount Everest.

However, several mountaineers who have been in the field for years say they have found inaccuracies in the couple's story. Some allege the Rathods did not make it to the peak and instead falsified documents and photoshopped pictures of themselves at the top.

BuzzFeed got in touch with some of them to authenticate all the evidence they have. Let's start with the photos the couple put up claiming they made it to the summit.

This photo was uploaded (and has since been deleted) to Dinesh's Facebook...

And here is a picture on a website called Mountain Guide.

The image Dinesh Rathod uploaded is a cropped version of the above picture, which was taken by photographer Dean Smith.
Via mountainguides.com

The image Dinesh Rathod uploaded is a cropped version of the above picture, which was taken by photographer Dean Smith.

In the picture used by publications that reported the couples' climb, both Dinesh and Tarkeshwari are wearing red gear.

However, in other pictures – especially the ones that show them holding up the Indian flag – their gear is completely different.

Via Surendra Shelke

This includes their boots, which are different colours and different brands.

Via Surendra Shelke

Surendra Shelke, an experienced climber of 22 years, told BuzzFeed it is not possible for mountaineers to change their clothes while on a peak, because of the harsh weather conditions, the wind-chill factor, and a number of other factors.

"In Tarkeshwari’s individual summit photo, the colour of her shoes are red-black whereas in their couple’s summit photo, the colour of her shoes are yellow-black," Shelke told BuzzFeed in an email statement. "Even the brand of the shoes is different. Is it possible to change your costume or shoes and still not get frostbite? What does it indicate?"

Shelke said Dinesh claimed the couple finished their climb on 23 May 2016 but did not declare it until 5 June 2016, in a press conference in Kathmandu.

Anjali Kulkarni, a climber with 25 years of mountaineering experience, told BuzzFeed that the Rathods reached the base camp on 4 May, which is very late in the season.

Kulkarni said: "The last team to arrive at base camp was the National Cadet Corps girls team (as far as I know) and they too arrived around April 20 or so. If a team arrived at base camp in the first week of May, there is not enough time to acclimatise and push for the summit."Some of us met the Rathods on May 10. By then, they had still not visited the Khumbu icefall for their first rotation up the mountain. They had done some minor training on the ice pinnacles near Everest base camp. However, neither had done the training necessary for the climb. If a team has not started acclimatisation until May 10, it is close to impossible to reach the summit on May 23 unless the Rathods are superhuman fitness stars."
Anjali Kulkarni

Kulkarni said: "The last team to arrive at base camp was the National Cadet Corps girls team (as far as I know) and they too arrived around April 20 or so. If a team arrived at base camp in the first week of May, there is not enough time to acclimatise and push for the summit.

"Some of us met the Rathods on May 10. By then, they had still not visited the Khumbu icefall for their first rotation up the mountain. They had done some minor training on the ice pinnacles near Everest base camp. However, neither had done the training necessary for the climb. If a team has not started acclimatisation until May 10, it is close to impossible to reach the summit on May 23 unless the Rathods are superhuman fitness stars."

According to Kulkarni, this is not the first time that the Rathods have faked a climb. "The news of Dinesh and his wife's Aussie 10 Challenge record is 100% fake news," she told BuzzFeed. The Aussie 10 Challenge requires climbing the 10 highest peaks in Australia.

"I can say [this] with 100% confidence as I was a co-team member with them," Kulkarni said. "Anand Bansode (leader), Shrikant Chavan, Rupali Chavan, Sharad Kulkarni, Anjali Kulkarni, Manisha Waghmare are all eyewitnesses who had completed this 'Aussie 10 Challenge' successfully."Dinesh and Tarkeshwari had both not completed this challenge for which they had been refused certificates from Australia, whereas the other members of this team who had successfully completed it received the certificates."
Via Anjali Kulkarni

"I can say [this] with 100% confidence as I was a co-team member with them," Kulkarni said. "Anand Bansode (leader), Shrikant Chavan, Rupali Chavan, Sharad Kulkarni, Anjali Kulkarni, Manisha Waghmare are all eyewitnesses who had completed this 'Aussie 10 Challenge' successfully.

"Dinesh and Tarkeshwari had both not completed this challenge for which they had been refused certificates from Australia, whereas the other members of this team who had successfully completed it received the certificates."

BuzzFeed has contacted Dinesh and Tarkeshwari Rathod for comment a number of times but has not received any response.

UPDATE:

Following an investigation by Nepal's Department of Tourism, the couple has been banned from taking part in any expeditions in the country for the next 10 years.