#13 – Kuntal Joisher (First vegan to climb Mt. Everest from both the sides) – Living a life of compassion and Summiting the highest mountains!

Kuntal Joisher
[Image Courtesy – Kuntal Joisher (Instagram) ]

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In this episode I’m talking to Kuntal Joisher who became the World’s first Vegan to scale Everest in 2016 and now in 2019 he has summited Everest again from the North Side becoming the only vegan on earth climb Mt. Everest from both the sides. Kuntal’s expeditions are driven by compassion as a Vegan and he also spreads awareness on Dementia. He has also been on the cover of multiple international Vegan magazines. Apart from his mountain expeditions he works as a technology professional and also speaks at various events through out the globe as a public speaker.

In this conversation we talk about his story, how the early exposure to the idea that it’s ok do crazy things seeded his life with the sense of adventure. How his journey as a mountaineer started and the moments when he was first awestruck with the magnificence of Mt. Everest. His training regime and advise for people who are aspiring to summit Mt. Everest. It’s all in this episode.

So without further adieu, please enjoy this conversation with Kuntal Joisher.

Links and references from the episode –

Person’s mentioned in this episode –

Product mentioned –

Book(s) mentioned –

Movie(s) Mentioned –

  • Cowspiracy – Movie about global warming and climate change

Interesting references –

  • SaveTheDuck – company which made Kuntal’s Everest wear which is made of 100% vegan materials. It withstood -30 to -40 degree Celsius on Kuntal’s expeditions.
  • Lhotse – The fourth highest mountain in the world at 8,516 metres (27,940 ft), after Mount Everest, K2, and Kanchenjunga. This was Kuntal’s first major climb with the 100% vegan suit.
  • Kamath’s restaurants, Lonavala
  • Kullu and Manali (villages around)
  • Darjeeling
  • Nepal
  • Shimla
  • Narkanda
  • Hindustan Tibet Highway
  • Hatu Peak (Narkanda) – Standing on the top of this peak was the point where Kuntal fell in love with the mountains.
  • The Everest Base Camp Trek
  • Pumori Base Camp – The place from where you can see The Everest Peaks – This is the moment which inspired him to climb The Everest. (Oct 2010)
  • Superior Cardio Vascular Endurance – Lungs and Heart
  • Training bullet points –
    1. Physical Fitness
      1. Cardiovascular Training – 2 Cardio workouts in a week (Did Stair Climbs in early days – 80 floors / 100 Floors | Hiking 4 times a week now)
      2. Strength Training – 2 strength workouts in a week (Body Weight Training)
      3. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) – 3-4 HIIT workouts in a week (Resting heart rate of 40 was one of the key success patterns between successful Everest climbers)
    2. Mental Fitness – 2-3 months in the mountains every year. 6 – 8 small and big expedition
    3. Mountaineering course – Pre-cursor to his expeditions
  • Practiced on Eastern Express Highway (Flat Road) initially
  • Everest Attempts –
    1. April 2014 – Almost 4 years of training Since 2010 (Resting heart of Kuntal at that time was 44) – Tragedy happened – 20 Sherpa’s were killed in an ice avalanche.
    2. 2015 – Second attempt – Nepal Earthquake 7.9 Magnitude (10000 people died), Big avalanche – Kuntal’s viral video – almost verge of death.
    3. May 2016 – Third attempt – 9.20AM first summit – dietary vegan
    4. May 2019 – Fourth attempt – second summit – fully vegan
    • Some learnings from the above expeditions –
      • Cost per attempt to climb – around 30 Lacs of Indian Rupees (around 42K USD).
      • Mantra for climbing high altitude – Climb high sleep low (acclimatise). 30-35 days.
      • South Cole (Camp 4) – it is in Death Zone – borrowed time – humans cannot acclimatise in death zone
  • Related to His Father –
  • Vegan Flag – Which he took to the Everest top the second time (May 2019).
  • % of diet type of Indians – 29% Vegetarian and 71% Non-Vegetarian (~900 Million people which 3 times the size of United States)
  • Ahimsa Festival / One Earth Festival – Kuntal is the Brand Ambassador of this event
  • His Diet –
    • Nutrimake – Kuntal’s breakfast from past many months
    • Veggies and Beans based meals for breakfast
    • Frankie or Chapathi or Chapati wrap of Vada Pav masala based meal for Dinner (Done by 8.30PM)
  • Hulk Joke by Himanshu
  • Kuntal’s Mentor – The Himalayas – Teached him Patience
  • Khumbu Icefall – One of the deadly part in the Everest climb
  • Garmin Phoenix 3 HR – Fitness watch Kuntal used for a month, now he doesn’t wear a watch or any other wearables.
  • Kuntal Next Challange – Summiting Seven highest mountains in Seven different Continents on a 100% vegan diet –
    1. Asia: Mount Everest 29,035 feet (8850 meters)
    2. South America: Aconcagua 22,829 feet (6962 meters)
    3. North America: Denali AKA Mount McKinley 20,320 feet (6194 meters)
    4. Africa: Kilimanjaro 19,340 feet (5895 meters)
    5. Europe: Mount Elbrus 18,510 feet (5642 meters)
    6. Antarctica: Mount Vinson 16,067 feet (4897 meters)
    7. Australasia/Oceania: Carstensz Pyramid 16,023 feet (4884 meters)

    ** Australia: Mount Kosciusko 7,310 feet (2228 meters)OR

  • Advice for Aspiring climbers to summit Mount Everest –
    • Creating a top of the world mind and body is the way to go.
    • Do a mountaineering course to learn the basics.
    • Do as many expeditions as you can
    • Climb in various environment –
      • In the night conditions
      • Climb in snow storms
      • Climb with one hand or without hands (not in crazy high peaks but a little safer environments)

Quotes mentioned –

  • My father taught me – Doing crazy things is ok!
  • Either be on the side of apathy, or if you know the real issue and it’s pain, then go on the other side of apathy and do something about it.
  • You have to value your life, your fingers, your toes, your general well being over getting to the top (of the Mountains). Getting to the top is simply a bonus, Getting down is the main part.
  • Over-prepare all the time.

The ways you can connect with Kuntal –

Listen on Castbox

My Twitter handle: twitter.com/h1m4n5hu


Credits and License:

My awesome intro background – The Real Broadway Musical by Narch and Dan Mace (Thanks guys)
Outro background – Tight Shorts – Andrew Applepie
Listen to the show in iTunes – click here.


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