Kuntal Joisher

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Kuntal Joisher
Personal information
Full nameKuntal Joisher
Born26 February 1980
Kharagpur, West Bengal, India
Notable ascentsMt. Everest, Mt. Lhotse, Mt. Manaslu
Kuntal Joisher, and Mingma Tenji Sherpa on summit of Mt. Everest on 19 May 2016

Kuntal Joisher is a mountaineer based in Mumbai, India. On 15 May 2018, he stood on top of Mt. Lhotse, the fourth highest mountain in the world at 8516 meters, and became the first human in the world to have ascended any 8000 meter mountain on a 100% vegan lifestyle.[1][2][3] During the course of the expedition, Joisher only consumed strictly vegan food, and used only vegan gear including a one-piece synthetic suit made completely from animal-free material, as well as mittens and gloves constructed devoid of down or leather.

He is also the first mountaineer to have climbed Mount Everest from the south side on a completely plant-based diet.[4][5] He reached the summit on 19 May 2016.[6][7][8] He is also the first mountaineer to have climbed Mt. Manaslu, the eighth highest mountain in the world, on a completely plant-based diet. He reached the summit on 1 October 2014.[9]

Joisher first went to Nepal in 1984 as a child and returned to Nepal several times for photography and climbing and says he regards Nepal as his "second home". Surviving an almost fatal avalanche during the April 2015 Nepal earthquake, Joisher arranged a photo exhibition after his return and donated income he made from it to relief measures in Nepal.[10] He says regarding his expedition, "it was important for me to send a message across the world that vegans can do it. I wanted to debunk every single myth around veganism."[11]

Early life[edit]

Kuntal was born in India to a Gujarati (Bhanushali) family. He was raised as a vegetarian, and later turned vegan in 2002.[12][13][14][15] He is an alumnus of USC Viterbi, where he did his masters in Computer Science.[16]

2014 Everest attempt[edit]

In 2014, Joisher survived a failed attempt during which 16 Sherpa climbing guides died in the Khumbu Icefall section. [17][18] The accident was the largest accident in the Everest climbing history. In October, 2014, Joisher became the first vegan and the second Indian civilian to summit Mount Manaslu at 8163 m, the eighth highest mountain in the world.[14][18] A few months before his first Everest attempt, Joisher was called a "fitness star" in a Times of India article.[19]

2015 Everest attempt[edit]

In an interview about his 2015 attempt, Joisher declared that his motivation to climb Everest was to disprove the notion that a vegan diet is nutritionally deficient,[14] and wanted to use clothing and equipment not made from animal products.[17] This attempt also saw Joisher reach for crowd funding; he offered to give away his Everest summit ice-axe to anyone who donated over Rs. 100,000.[20] His attempt to be the first vegan to summit from the south side failed due to an avalanche that was caused by the 2015 Nepal earthquake, which resulted in 21 deaths.[21] A video of the incident that featured Joisher went viral on YouTube receiving over 23 million hits.[14] Joisher trekked with his fellow survivors for 3–4 days from EBC to Lukla from where they were transported to Kathmandu by IAF helicopter. They then volunteered to assist relief work for the earthquake hit as they awaited the arrival of their gear. Joisher kneaded dough and cut vegetables for a kitchen that served puri bhaji.[22] Joisher told NDTV "I'm certain I'll be back again next year".[23]

2016 Everest successful summit[edit]

Joisher's 45-day Everest expedition culminated in his climbing the summit on 19 May 2016. Everest ascent is a multi-staged climb. First stage is getting to the base camp, then there are camps 1 to 4, from camp 4 is the final ascent to the summit. At the base camp, Joisher ate pohe, puri bhaji, dal rice, pav bhaji and vegan breads, pastas and burgers and vegan cakes were baked to celebrate birthdays and for the summit party. From base camp to Camp 4, climbers retain appetite for solid food, non-vegan climbers eat high protein products made from meat, dairy and eggs, which according to Joisher is wrong as what is needed is carbohydrates and electrolytes. However, the four days that Joisher took to climb from camp 3 to the summit and back to camp 2, including the Death Zone (height above 7925 m), Joisher only ate two Oreo biscuits as well as subsisting on a vegan gel manufactured by Unived. According to Joisher, this gel releases carbohydrates and electrolytes instantly unlike other foods, which could take up to 10 hours. On successfully reaching the base camp, the first food that Joisher had was paper masala dosa, "It's twice the size of a normal dosa." he is quoted saying.[24]


During training Joisher, a Kutchi, has a low to zero oil vegan diet. His wife and mother are vegetarians so he needs cook separate vegan food only when necessary. He makes his milk from nuts and grains like cashew nuts, ground nuts, rice and rajma using a milk maker. He makes curd from ground nuts and rajma, from which he makes lassi and chaas. He breakfasts on a green smoothie made from mint, spinach, coriander, bananas, dates chilled with ice. Once a week he simulated Death Zone conditions by training hard without food and water for 12 hours.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Maharashtra man plants a flag on Mt Lhotse for vegans - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 3 June 2018.
  2. ^ "11 climbers reached summit of Lhotse today | News - Dream Wanderlust". Dream Wanderlust. 15 May 2018. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  3. ^ "79-year-old Japanese oldest climber to scale Mt Lhotse; Sherpa climber missing on Mt Everest". The Himalayan Times. 15 May 2018. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  4. ^ Mehta, Palak. "Meet Kuntal Joisher: A Vegan Mountain Climber Who Conquered Mt. Everest". Vegan First. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  5. ^ "vegan »bis auf die spitze« kuntal joisher auf dem mount everest". veganmagazin (in German). 29 August 2016. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  6. ^ "You Won't Hear About it in the News, but a Vegan Successfully Climbed Mount Everest". One Green Planet. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
  7. ^ "Hvorfor døde unge Maria på verdens højeste bjerg? Medier spekulerer i overraskende teori". www.bt.dk. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
  8. ^ "Woman Attempting to Prove Vegans Can Do Anything Dies Summiting Mt. Everest - OutdoorHub". OutdoorHub. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
  9. ^ "After Two Failed Attempts, This Man's Dream Of Climbing The Everest As A Vegan Came True". www.mensxp.com. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  10. ^ "'Nepal still new to the culture of safety among adventure companies'". Rediff. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
  11. ^ "I scaled Everest to debunk every single myth around veganism". Lokaantar : in pursuit of facts. 30 May 2016. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  12. ^ "About Kuntal A Joisher".
  13. ^ "The Fearless Vegan – Interview with First Vegan to Scale Mt. Everest, Kuntal Joisher". BHU Foods.
  14. ^ a b c d "He dreamt of being the first vegan to climb Mount Everest from Nepal. Then the earthquake happened". Washington Post. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
  15. ^ "Is it more difficult for vegans to push themselves to physical extremes? - BBC News". BBC News. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
  16. ^ "USC - Viterbi School of Engineering - A Summit of Courage". viterbi.usc.edu. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
  17. ^ a b "Everest climber captured in viral video was on a vegan mission". MNN - Mother Nature Network. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
  18. ^ a b "Why the only thing tougher than climbing Mt Everest is raising the fund for it - The Economic Times". The Economic Times. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
  19. ^ "Superb ways to be fat-free - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
  20. ^ "Crowds fund underdog's ticket to the big stage - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
  21. ^ "17 reported dead in Mount Everest avalanche, but toll expected to rise". Washington Post. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
  22. ^ "Inside Nepal: Escaping the avalanche to feed puri-bhaji to survivors". Rediff. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
  23. ^ "'What We Experienced Has Only Made Us Stronger. We Will be Back,' Say Everest Base Camp Survivors". NDTV.com. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
  24. ^ a b "This Mumbaikar just climbed Everest, and he's vegan". in.news.yahoo.com. Retrieved 5 June 2016.[permanent dead link]