The awe-inspiring story of an amateur climber, who took the challenge to speed climb the 14 highest peaks in the world on a vegan diet.
In less than 24 months, he conquered the highest points of Africa, Europe, South America, Asia, Australia, and Oceania and Antarctica. Putting aside the fact that he did it on a plant-based diet, he broke Guinness records and made history since no other man in sports and alpine history can boast with an achievement like that – climbing 6 of the world’s highest peaks in less than 24 months. On May 24, 2014, he climbed Mount Everest, and on October 1, 2015 – Mount Manaslu.
This was just the beginning of his project “Speed Climb The 14 Highest Peaks In The World Without Consuming Animal Products”
Dr. Atanas Skatov, originally from Bulgaria holds a PHD in Plant Protection and Production from Humboldt University Berlin. He had been leading an intensely sedentary lifestyle for 15 years, when he took up hiking.
“Four years ago I decided to make this experiment – says Atanas. – I ditched animal products from my diet to prove that a person can live without them, even when there is the maximum amount of strain on his body and mind. The sport with the greatest physical and mental load is high-altitude mountaineering. So I decided to start conquering peaks. I took it as my mission to prove that veganism is healthy, because if we manage to drastically reduce meat consumption, this will radically decrease the pollution and harm we are doing to our planet… Plus, think about it – these are living creatures that we kill in order to eat. Or use as products.”
Despite the immense strength Atanas has demonstrated, he could not be more humble when he says that he is open to criticism and discussion. On his site, where he talks in more detail about his project, he also explains that
This is a real-life study on the body and the strength of spirit one can reach to ultimately live a life of inner peace and health
He had never played any sports, had no coaches, trainers, a crew or any mountain climbing experience whatsoever.
In the beginning of 2012 Atanas switched to a 100% plant-based style of eating, excluding animal products from his menu. He used to be a vegetarian before that, but he was looking to further extend that by not simply changing his diet, but also his lifestyle, his mindset, his moral values, and behavior. After being vegan for four years now, he confirms that he feels very well, and is not planning to switch back to consuming animal products.
‘This planet is a heaven for all animal species and humans and everyone should have an equal chance to live on it without being grown for human consumption. For me, it is very important that everyone can eat according to their internal beliefs, morals and values.’ , says Atanas
‘To seek the limits of the human capabilities and the limits of the vegan which are directly related to the Strength of spirit and belief in the unlimited possibilities, are my top priority. Everything must happen first in the head and then to believe in it, and after that to apply it in practice.’
Atanas firmly believes that if a vegan diet can be suitable in the harsh conditions of high altitude alpinism, where there is an enormous strain on both mind and body – this is the ultimate proof that people can easily live and survive on a plant-based diet only.
He hopes that this message will reach as many people as possible, because even reducing the consumption of meat, fish, milk, cheese, and eggs by half will still have a huge impact on the harmful carbon emissions caused by animal breeding, as well as cutting by half the land used for growing food for the animals, which will be preserving forests and wildlife.
The Goal Of This Vegan Project
“My goal is to show to more people that there is another way of life besides the most common one. That, if a man who had never done sports before could cope with one of the biggest challenges – high altitude alpinism, it means that we can live a full life without animal products. Behind all this we can see the Strength of spirit and the unlimited human capabilities.”
Besides that, Atanas aims to inspire with his strength and determination, showing that impossible is nothing if you set your mind to it. He aims to demonstrate that the human body and spirit are capable of things beyond imagination, which can act as a driving force for other people to set and reach their own goals and dreams.
Here are some of his results so far:
Climbing the highest summit in Africa – Uhuru — 5895 m. on 10.01.2013;
Climbing the highest summit in Europe — Elbrus — 5642 m. on 06.07.2013;
Solo reaching 6900 m. altitude of the Lenin peak— 7132 m., Pamir;
Climbing the highest summit in Germany — Zugspitze — 2962 m. from Garmisch-Partenkirchen, 25 km. + 2570 m. for 6 hours and returning on the same day (50 km for 11 hours)
Solo climbing the highest summit in South America — Aconcagua — 6962 m. on 04.01.2014
Climbing the highest summit on Earth — Everest 8848 m on 24.05.2014, and going down to camp ABC at 6440 m. on the same day; The first vegan in the world to climb Mount Everest.
Climbing the highest summit in Australia and Oceania — Carstensz Pyramid 4884 m. at the island of New Guinea on 19.11. 2014;
Climbing the highest summit in Antarctica — Vinson Massif, 4892 m. on 22.12.2014;
There are 14 summits higher than 8 000 meters above the sea level on our planet. They are known as the“14 eight-thousanders”. He aims to conquer them all by 2020.
Here are his sub-goals:
Climbing the 14 eight-thousanders by a vegan; (for the first time in the world)
Climbing 4 eight-thousanders in one season for 100 days; (for the first time in the world)
Climbing 5 eight-thousanders in one calendar year; (for the first time in the world)
Climbing 6 eight-thousanders in 12 months; (for the first time in the world)
Climbing the 14 eight-thousanders in less than 6 years, or as quickly as possible by a vegan, to challenge the body as much as possible. (for the first time in the world)
All of the identified goals have not been achieved so far, even by a person with a common „normal“ diet and professional alpine training.
Atanas has really set his foot to break all vegan stereotypes out there! Let’s help him out by spreading his message and achievements to as many people as possible! Please share this piece to support this cause!
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