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Vegan Mountaineer Makes History as He Conquers Everest

Updated: Oct 2, 2019

Ellie Chivers Details The World's First Fully Vegan Everest Expedition.

Photo by Eberhard Grossgasteiger

There is a much-espoused myth about veganism that suggests the diet doesn’t support our bodies well enough and doesn’t provide the nutrients we need to be healthy individuals. Well, if anyone can prove that wrong – it’s Kuntal Joshier. 

Joshier recently made history by becoming the first person to climb Mount Everest with an 100% vegan kit, right down to his sunscreen and toothpaste.

Joshier isn’t unknown in the world of mountaineering, with his first Everest climb being in 2016. He returned for his second attempt earlier this year, in the wake of founding his own sustainable clothing brand, ‘Save the Duck’, and designing mittens with the help of a local tailor. 

His nutrition and food were a key factor in helping Joshier overcome the climb, with fresh cooked meals such a vegan pizza, and the meal replacement Nutrimake being standouts in his diet. Joshier told Great Vegan Athletes: “I sit down with the cooks and make them understand why I am doing this. Once they know my animal rights angle, they are very supportive of it. 

“My hope is that the next bunch of vegan climbers go climbing with the same agency they won’t have to face these same problems. They would just have to say, ‘We are vegan’, or ‘We are like Kuntal!’”

Joshier may have made the climb look easy, but it was not without its challenges. Weather conditions were against his group, battling the bitter cold and aggressive winds; Joshier described some as turning into “local tornadoes.” 

Not once did Joshier’s vegan ways let him down, however. He told Great Vegan Athletes: “In a way, I'm happy that I chose [to climb] the Tibet side, which is known for its notorious weather – wind and cold, since it allowed me to demonstrate that vegan food and gear can work in some of the most hostile conditions on the planet. Not just survive, but actually thrive.” 

During one particular night, the wind was so brutal that it blew Joshier’s tent into his face while he was inside it, despite the tents being surrounded by surac walls. The incident left the tent poles broken and Joshier and his tentmates in an incredibly claustrophobic and frightening environment. However, despite the fear, Joshier remembers how his synthetic clothing helped him out a great deal during the situation: “During this entire ordeal even though our tent was half torn I never felt cold once. Thanks to the nice sleeping bag and Save the Duck suit.” 

Joshier’s inspiring story goes to show that there is no limit to the physical challenges a vegan can endure and prosper in. No doubt his legacy will go on to encourage more mountaineers – vegan or not – to be more considerate with what they take on their next adventure. | Tru. 🌱

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