Vegan Athletes

Vegan mountaineer scales Everest in 100% animal-free kit

Kuntal Joisher has climbed Everest before but this time his kit has no animal derivatives

Story Highlights


For anybody with any lingering doubts that vegans cannot be top athletes, surely the story of Kuntal Joisher should put that to rest. Joisher climbed Mt Everest back in 2016 when he was already a committed vegan. After the climb, he immediately set a personal goal as “a Vegan champion” to do the climb again as “a true 100% vegan”.

Now the mountaineer, photographer, philanthropist who is on a self-confessed personal mission as a Vegan champion, has scaled the world’s highest peak again as reported in the Irish Times , but this time with no animal products or derivatives of any kind in his equipment or clothing. 

“From gloves to thermal wear, to socks, to boots, to even my toothpaste, my sunscreen, all the way down to my hand-sanitiser – every piece was vegan,” Joisher explained to Great Vegan Athletes.

Kuntal’s association with ‘Save The Duck’, a company based in Milan, made all the difference. They developed the clothing, and his mittens were designed by the mountaineer himself and made with the help of a local tailor. 

Base Camp and Advanced Base Camp meals “veganized”

Kuntal would need to ensure that the cooks “veganized” every meal at base camp and advanced base camp. One example would be to ensure that the lentils were fried in oil, and not in butter so that he could eat the traditional Nepalese vegetarian set meals.

Once Kuntal had sat down with the local cooks and explained his stance on animal rights, they understood what he was doing and were easily able to adapt. So a tip for the next group of vegan mountaineers would be to use the same agency because the cooks are already on board.

They had plenty of vegan pizzas but perhaps the most significant nutrition was a vegan powder supplement, Nutrimake which has 700 calories a packet containing a suitable balance of macronutrients.

“I ate this powder every single morning along with my regular breakfast making for almost 1200-1300 calories at the start of the date. The blend of vitamins and minerals helped boost my immunity, the generous dose of fibre kept my bowels functioning well, and a great profile of protein helped me with muscle retention. I was the only climber on the team who didn’t catch any kind of infection, and I attribute that to the addition of Nutrimake to my daily regime” said Joisher.

The hand gel that he relied on was a critical part of his kit bag. 

Joisher and Mingma, his Nepalese sherpa, decided to scale the Northside of the mountain which is traditionally viewed as the hardest side to climb because of its notoriously bad weather conditions. Joisher insists that this proves that vegan food and gear can not only work in some of the harshest climates in the world but that it can also thrive.

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Nicholas Orosz

Nicholas is a former City solicitor and Cambridge graduate. He has a long-standing interest in health & nutrition, the environmental movement, green politics & digital publishing. He has always loved crafting words. His transition to a vegan perspective has been gradual and an ongoing process of self-discovery. Contact:

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