Steadfast Athlete Dr Varuna Raina is a mountaineer and doctor by profession. She started high-altitude hiking with her father at the age of 5 when she went to Amarnath cave on foot in Kashmir and has done more than 50 high altitude treks, including Kailash Manasarovar, Everest Base Camp and Three Passes, Annapurna Base Camp, Chadar trek, Srikhand Mahadev, Kinnar Kailash and many more. She climbs to raise awareness about diabetes, mental health, and head injury and to honour her father.
Varuna’s greatest feat is summiting the Black Peak in Uttarakhand, 6387m above sea level, making her the first from Jammu and Kashmir.
Varun’s treks include overnight camping and an 8-hours-a-day journey through the snow, scree, moraine, crevasse-ridden glaciers, river-crossings, and wilderness. In September 2022, Varuna climbed India’s 10th highest peak, the Jongsong Peak (7462 m) in Sikkim with the Indian Army. She has previously summited Uttarakhand’s Black peak (6387 m), Ladakh’s Kang Yatze 2 (6250 m), the tricky Pangarchulla Peak in Uttarakhand (4550 m), Sikkim’s BC Roy Peak, and the Tulian and Mt Kolahoi peaks in Kashmir. The list is never-ending.
Varuna relies on Steadfast Nutrition’s supplements for her arduous climbs. Her favourites are the energy drinks Carborance and Snergy.
“I’m delighted to be associated with Steadfast Nutrition as an athlete. Many supplements are my go-to products, which take care of my energy and nutrition needs during my climbs. Carborance contains carbohydrates for endurance, which fuel my rigorous 3- 4-hour training sessions during the day. It helps me reduce fatigue, boosts my energy levels, and improves my performance. Snergy, the tasty orange and watermelon-flavoured drink gives me instant energy and replenishes lost electrolyte stores during my workout,” says Varuna.
Varuna has done a basic mountaineering course from the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) Darjeeling and an advanced one from the Nehru Institiute of Mountaineering (NIM), Uttarkashi. Her husband has helped her enhance her mountaineering skills.
Varuna has also trained in yoga and loves ice climbing. As a professional doctor, Dr Varuna has treated people with acute mountain sickness on expeditions.
She has battled head injury, militancy, gender equity and personal loss, but her indomitable spirit has helped her surmount all obstacles.
A head injury survivor, Dr Varuna is preparing to summit Ladakh’s Kangri peak (over 6000 m), and Mt Ama Dablam (6812 m) in October 2023- she will be the first Indian doctor to achieve the feat if she succeeds.
Her ultimate goal is to be an alpine-style self-sustainable mountaineer and climb 8000 m-peaks, including the mighty Kanchenjunga.