Kathmandu [Nepal]: A-56 year-old Gopal Shrestha from Pokhara in Nepal became first HIV infected climber to ascend world’s highest peak, the Mount Everest.
Shrestha, resident of Ratnachowk in Pokhara reached the summit on Wednesday morning as per the report of the state-news-agency, the Rastriya Samachar Samiti.
The report said, “The 56-year-old, who is a resident of Ratnachowk in Pokhara, set his feet on the summit of the 8,848-metre-tall mountain today at 8:15 am, Liaison Officer at the Everest Base Camp, Gyanendra Shrestha, confirmed National News Agency (RSS).”
Shrestha, once a former national football player climbed Everest in the second attempt. His first attempt was abandoned from the Everest Base Camp due to the earthquake of 2015.
Gopal Shrestha’s latest ascend is a part of his “Step-Up Campaign: Second Phase Everest Expedition”, through which he aims to raise awareness in the society and country and provide quality education to children affected with HIV. Record making Shrestha’s summit attempt was led by a record-holder mountaineer.
Phurba Tenzing Sherpa of Dreamers Destination Treks and Expedition Pvt Ltd while an eight-time Everest summiteer, Dakipa Sherpa, guided Shrestha to the Everest, locally known as Sagarmatha.
Gopal Shrestha had successfully crossed Thorong La Pass (5, 417 m) in 2013 and climbed Island Peak (6,189 m) in 2014, and Virgin Peak/ Khang Karpo (6, 646 m) in 2016. With the ascent of Everest, Shrestha has led by example that HIV-infected people could also accomplish any challenges and they could perform any tasks irrespective of how difficult, risky and challenging they are.
He has become a beacon of hope for not only 31,020 HIV/AIDS-infected people in Nepal according to the estimates of the National Centre for AIDS and STD Control (NCASC) but also to about 36.4 million people living with HIV as per World Health Organisation as of 2017.
Shrestha contracted with the disease some 25 years ago through syringe injection.