Prakriti Varshney, first Indian female vegan to climb Mt Everest: I am chasing dreams like no other
On the occasion of International Women’s Day (March 8), Prakriti Varshney talks about her journey post her momentous ascend
Prakriti Varshney is the first Indian female vegan to ascend the highest peak in the world, Mount Everest. She achieved this feat on May 12, 2022 and recently scaled three of the highest mountains in Africa - Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Kenya, Mt. Stanley. “And I aim to climb nine more in different countries this year. I am chasing dreams like no other,” she says. However, for this female mountaineer, her biggest challenge is “money”. “All of my plans and dreams depends on if I am able to collect sufficient funds,” she explains.
Her love for animals made her give up all meat-based products and turn vegan. She also volunteers with an animal rescue NGO and even uses her social media platform to spread the message of taking care of all animals. Further, her love for the mountains prompted her to give up her regular 9-to-5 job and move to Manali. Here, she has started a home stay for travellers, while staying true to her passion - climbing mountains.
Mountaineering is still considered a male-dominated field “because it takes a lot of strength to be a mountaineer”. However, the 26-year-old climber is happy to bring about a slow change. “A lot of people still don’t believe that I climb mountains while carrying more than 15kg of luggage. Maybe it is because of the way I look - 5 ft and petite or because I am a woman.” However, that hasn’t stopped her.
Ask her the one advice she would give other women who might be facing their own Mt Everest: “Just keep going, take a deep breathe, and start again when in trouble,” she says.