43-year-old visually impaired man from Vadodara scales 17,000 ft Himalayan peak

Vadodara (Gujarat) [India]: Sanjeev Gokhle, a resident of Vadodara who is visually impaired, recently climbed Mount Friendship at an altitude of 17,346 feet above the sea level in the range of Lesser Himalayas – Pir Panjal.

The 43-year-old says that he is passionate about maintaining and nature, works in the Department of Post as a postal assistant.
“I with my friend Pushpak climbed a peak called Friendship peak in the Himalayas. It was a five-day expedition started which we started from Solang….It was a tough terrain but I enjoyed it a lot. The Himalayas have a different aura. In Gujarat I used to trek for 4-5 hours whereas in the Himalayas we had to trek for 8 hours,” said Gokhle.

He further said, “When I am climbing a mountain and if it’s an uphill, I hold a string which is attached to the bag of a person climbing ahead of me. If it’s downhill, I keep my hand on the shoulder of the person ahead of me.”

Gokhle was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a progressive vision disorder, in 2001. “Gradually I am losing my vision. I was diagnosed in 2001. Medically, I am 100 per cent blind, he said.

Gokhle said that he has been associated with adventure expeditions and nature for the last 25 years.

“Before I lost the vision, I have done rescue operation of crocodiles, reptiles, snakes and mammals. I have been part of various different censuses that are conducted by the forest department. I have been involved as research personnel in various nature awareness camps of the department,” he added.

“I am visual handicapped but I passionately pursue my passion. I never took vision loss as a disability and kept moving on in life. I kept on enjoying nature,” said Gokhle. (ANI)

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