Gixer Stories

High-Altitude Climbing is a Lot Like Solving an it Challenge

Gixer Stories

What I like is the challenges that the mountains throw at you. When you feel you have finally reached one point, you turn a corner and the mountain reveals itself anew.


For me, mountain climbing is about how far you can push yourself. That’s what makes it exciting. I start with a destination in mind, but I’m not worried if I do not reach the destination. I just want to go beyond where I got last time.

I had never attempted an extreme sport before. The first time I ever gave mountain climbing a thought was during Covid, when YouTube started showing me videos of adventurers trekking to Mt. Everest Base camp. I started training for this trek by running and walking. Breathing is key to high-altitude treks, so I also started practicing basic Pranayama breathing techniques. While solo trekking is possible, I decided it would be more fun to recruit friends and relatives. My fellow adventurers included my brother, cousin, and a couple of friends.

Once the Covid restrictions were lifted, in May of 2022 we set out for the 10-day trip to reach Everest South Base Camp in Nepal, which is 5,364 meters high (17,598 ft). The first 6 days of the trek were beautiful. The trails were clear, the mountains snow-covered, and the sky so so bright blue. We slept in relative warmth under blankets in tea houses each night. We passed through the Sherpa capital of Namche Bazaar, and the valley of the Dudh Kosi River.

blog-climbing-is-like-solving-it-challengesBut you have no idea what altitude above 4,000m does to you. Some people acclimatize rather quickly. I was not one of those people. On day 7, we climbed to Dingboche at 4,260 meters. My blood-oxygen level dropped to 50 percent (normal is 95 percent, and well acclimatized on a mountain is 80 percent). Even after a day of rest, my body failed to acclimatize, and I had to turn around.

I continued to train and practice the breathing exercises. Six months later, as soon as the climbing season opened, I was back at it.

This time, I made it to 4,800 meters before I developed the tell-tale “Khumbu” cough – caused by the low humidity and temperatures associated with high altitudes. The cough threw off my breathing rhythm, and I had to turn around. Even going back downhill, my blood-oxygen level dropped to 38 percent, and I had trouble walking. Fortunately, there was a hospital on the mountain. After 12 hours of breathing under an oxygen mask, I was healthy enough to be air-lifted down the rest of the mountain.

In my day job as the Director of Technology and Engineering at CoStrategix, I am used to facing IT challenges. Every day, work reveals something new – you reach a point where you cannot see the end, and the way forward is not apparent. Clients bring new challenges that you have to think through. I embrace this.

Mountain climbing is very similar. On a trek, the mountains keep revealing themselves anew, one corner, one angle at a time. You gain different viewpoints at different heights, or on different paths.

In May of 2023, I made my third mountain-climbing attempt. This time, I chose a different region of the Himalayas. We made an 8-day trek through the rugged mountain glaciers to the Annapurna Base Camp at an altitude of 4,130 meters.

It was magical.

My hiking interest has now turned into a biking interest. Recently, I took a 3,000-km cruise around India, from Bangalore to Gujarat. I aim to bike 20,000 km this year on my Cruiser and Adventure motorbikes. Yes, I’m still in the process of reaching new destinations.

Yet one mountain remains elusive.

Everest Base Camp still calls to me, luring me in. Maybe just one more attempt later this year or next? Stay tuned…

CoStrategix is a strategic technology consulting and implementation company that bridges the gap between technology and business teams to build value with digital and data solutions. If you are looking for guidance on data management strategies and how to mature your data analytics capabilities, we can help you leverage best practices to enhance the value of your data. Get in touch!

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