Prakriti Varshney just became the first known vegan Indian woman to climb Mount Everest.
The plant-based athlete, blogger, and graphic designer reached the top of the world’s highest peak earlier this month.
According to climbing expedition company Seven Summit Treks, Varshney and her fellow climbers were the first to reach the summit of Everest this climbing season.
It’s not the first time Varshney has hit the headlines for her climbing expeditions. Last year, she summited Nepal’s Ama Dablam, which stands at just over 6,800 meters.
Widely regarded as one of the world’s most beautiful mountains, Ama Dablam is a tough climb. Not only did Varshney complete the trek, she also did it all while experiencing menstrual cramps.
“For me, it made me cross my limits,” she told the Indian Express after the climb. “Like, I feel I would not have known how strong I am if this wouldn’t have happened.”
“I feel, a woman can be as strong as she wants and as fragile too,” she added. “And we have to embrace both.”
Varshney is also a passionate animal lover and a strong advocate for veganism.
While she is said to be the first vegan Indian woman to summit Everest, Varshney is not the first vegan climber to reach the top.
Kuntal Joisher reached Everest’s summit in 2016, and in the same year, experienced Australian vegan climber Dr. Maria Strydom also reached the top. Tragically, she died of altitude sickness during the descent.
Joisher summited Everest again in 2018, and is now on a mission “to normalize vegan mountaineering.”
Describing the experience in 2016 for Red Bull last year, he wrote: “It was so overwhelming, I couldn’t hold back the tears. With a minute’s credit left on my satellite phone, I called home, then I sat down to soak in the view from the top. I’ll never forget those 20 minutes. The only feeling that compares is the birth of my daughter.”
He added: “It was a huge achievement for me as a mountaineer, but it also shone a positive light on veganism.”