World's first amputee to reach Everest: I’m feeling almost on top of the world - Hindustan Times
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World's first amputee to reach Everest: I’m feeling almost on top of the world

By Ismat Tahseen
May 25, 2024 04:20 PM IST

Tinkesh Kaushik, the world’s first triple amputee to reach the Everest Base Camp with prosthetic limbs, talks about the journey, a test of ‘mental grit’.

Goa’s Tinkesh Kaushik has proven that persistence and self-belief can help you conquer great heights, literally! The 30-year-old has become the world’s first triple amputee to reach the Everest Base Camp. “I am feeling almost on top of the world,” says Kaushik, as he talks to us about his achievement. It was a week-long journey and he reached the summit on the eighth day. Now back home, Kaushik looks back at the journey, which, he says, was a test of his mental and physical grit.

Tinkesh Kaushik, is the world's first triple amputee to reach the Everest Base Camp
Tinkesh Kaushik, is the world's first triple amputee to reach the Everest Base Camp

‘I had no prior experience’

The mountaineer embodies the famous line from renowned mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary — ‘It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves’. For he has led a life of overcoming challenges, having lost both limbs below knees and a hand following an electrocution accident in Haryana when he was just nine. He chose to become a fitness coach and harboured the dream of reaching the Everest Base Camp. “I had no experience in mountaineering and I’d just trekked to the top of some difficult forts in Maharashtra,” says Tinkesh, adding, “Since I am into fitness, I train every day all year round. But this intensified over the last few months. I did resistance training by lifting weights in the gym for two hours and walked with 15kg to 20kg sandbags and 40kg dumb-bells. Apart from this, I walked 5km to 10km a day,” he says.

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He overcame a bunch of challenges like a tough terrain, minus temperatures, altitude sickness and more.
He overcame a bunch of challenges like a tough terrain, minus temperatures, altitude sickness and more.

 

Icy challenges ahead

Everest being what it is, going was not easy, with bad weather, altitude sickness and more. He recalls, “The biggest challenge was day one, the Himalayas taught me my first lesson. My stumps were in terrible pain and the terrain was tough. I was worried. Altitude sickness came later, where the higher I went, my oxygen levels dropped. But with proper management, I recovered enough to summit as planned. Climbing a mountain is certainly not a walk in the park.”

The tough climb

Talking about the experience, Kaushik shares, “Yes, it was very painful. There was constant pain, but from the second day, I steeled my resolve. I’d only one thought in my mind — to reach the top.”

‘At night, the stars seem close enough to touch’

The climb was worth it, as Kaushik shares the most breathtaking moments on the trek. He says, “You’ve to see it to believe it, the views are stunning. The sun plays hide-and-seek with you. You are surrounded by snow-capped peaks, the meadows and the jingling of bells on yaks. At night, the stars seem close enough to touch.”

Inspiring others

Kaushik says he received the best compliment when he got back from his trek: “A wheelchair user told me, ‘You did it for all of us’. It was fulfilling. I climbed with a cause which was to provide mental health support to people with disabilities. I want them to know that nothing is impossible.”

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