When I first told him about my decision to climb the Everest, my boss sarcastically said, ‘You can very well climb the moon as well’,” recollects Kun-tal Joisher, India’s only vegan mountaineer, with a smile. After all, who would have thought that a simple Gujarati boy, weighing 110 kgs would literally make it to the top of the world in the next five years? A software engineer heading the India operations at an MNC in Mumbai had never imagined quitting a plush corporate job for his passion, but his love for mountaineering overpowered it all.
The seeds of mountaineering were sown in a young Joisher when he undertook trips to the Himalayas with his mother. However, a trip to Shimla with his wife in 2009 changed it all. Joisher recollects a memory during the trip when he and his wife, wanted to experience snow fall and ended up going on a trek to Hatu peak in Shimla. However, the drive to stand on top of the peak was so strong that Joisher continued to trek till the point he was on the highest peak. “My life changed in that very single moment because when I was on top of that peak, I could just hear my heart beat and my breath coming in and out. I had never experienced this before and at that moment, I found my calling,” he says. And Joisher decided to go after this calling.