Updated: Jun 22
We caught up with HETAL SHAH for an interview on conquering mountains, rock climbing and her relationship with outdoors.
How would you describe your relationship with the outdoors?
What has been your favourite adventure/ expedition so far?
That's a difficult question! Himalayas is probably at the top of the list. The crossing of crevasses, ice climbing, the culture of the mountain, meeting Everest summiteers... a lot of it stood out but again, my heart also lies in Mt. Kenya, and the climbing/trekking/views it's got to offer. So for me, no expedition is really comparable.
What challenges have you faced in your outdoor life? How did you overcome them?
Finances and good company. Then I realized that I will meet new people only if I join groups for any outdoor activities.
And so I made new friends! I overcame the finance issue as soon as I got a job, which was fairly early in my life.
Are there issues surrounding the outdoors in Kenyan that you are passionate about?
Pollution and deforestation are the biggest issues. Going on a trail, it is very disheartening to see that people still throw litter around. Everyone knows the impact yet they are so ignorant! And deforestation is heart breaking too! It has affected the temperatures, the air we breathe, the weather, among other things.
When and how did you start rock climbing?
I started climbing about 4 years ago when a friend requested to join in and try it out!
Where do you normally climb?
I climb at Hell's Gate National Park.
Do you have any specific climbing goals for 2021?
To summit Batian peak of Mt Kenya.
If you could travel anywhere or climb anything, here would you want to explore?
Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, and Rocky Mountains, US
What do you do when you’re not climbing?
I'm an investment banker by profession and also a co-founder of an adventure company (Bootstrap Adventures) that specialises mainly in outdoor activities.
“Going on a trail, it is very disheartening to see that people still throw litter around. Everyone knows the impact yet they are so ignorant!"
Summitted Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt Meru, Rwenzori Mountains, Ol Donyo Lengai, Mt. Kenya - Lenana, attempted Batian, and various other mountains in Kenya.
Reached Everest Base Camp, summited Island Peak (6,189m) - Himalayas
Cycled from Nairobi to Mombasa, and Nanyuki to Moyale, and various other rides.
Completed various half marathons including Lewa, Mt Kilimanjaro and Mara Marathon.
Participated in various triathlons.
Certified scuba diver.
*Story featured in The Kenyan Climber #02