Anuraag Khandelwal conquers EBC with grit and trusty crutches!

Anuraag Khandelwal is the CCO of 82.5 Communications, a specialist agency of Ogilvy India group. Anuraag, a polio survivor aided by a carbon fibre leg brace and two trusty crutches, dared to dream the impossible – Everest Base Camp. It was not easy for Anuraag who trekked on crutches, and  sometimes on particularly jagged terrain,  moved forward on his butt and hands. Thirteen consecutive days, traversing unforgiving terrains, scaling heights never imagined…from a trek novice to standing at Everest Base Camp, the journey unfolded like a vivid dream.

Here we speak to the man behind mission impossible and how he achieved his goal, challenges notwithstanding…

So a tiny piece of rock reached you from EBC to call you?

Yes! It not only called me… it made me follow it to a mountain!


Are you a man always drawn to challenges?

I would say I am a man who likes to haul himself out of his comfort zone. I don’t necessarily like it while I am at it but I do enjoy the learnings in hindsight.


This trip though was not easy for anyone, with extreme temperatures, dipping oxygen levels and the strenuousness of the trip…

Well, when we finally reached EBC, my Sherpa guide told me that my effort and prep for doing EBC was as good as a person without disabilities summitting the Everest.

I take that with a pinch of salt, but I get what he’s saying. 

So yes. It was not easy for me at all.


You decided to undertake this arduous journey, with the challenge of being a polio survivor aided by a carbon fibre leg brace and two trusty crutches…. How easy was it?

There were lots of learnings and issues. I had to improvise on a lot of problems I had never faced with my braces or crutches. The way we kept increasing or reducing the crutch length, the way we modified certain things on my braces for balance… all of it was new! The terrain was unforgiving but I think I had the blessings of the Mountain Gods. I had a fantastic team to support me and guide me through all the twists and turns and encourage me for every achievement, big or small.


Tell us about what it took to train and forge a path of strength and endurance?

How did you come across the sports company with Paralympic insights and retain a personal trainer as your guide? What kind of discipline did it take?

How did you push your boundaries? And how did you make time for it?

Tell us more about a farm turning into a training ground across seasons…

I was a complete novice to trekking and hiking… heck… even walking long distances. 

I was sure I wanted to do this so I simply got started.


I got talking to a lot of people about it and one friend recommended a place in Bangalore called Invictus that had some experience with training Paralympic athletes. Bangalore didn’t work out from a physical training perspective as I live in Mumbai. But Invictus introduced me to Potential Health Development, a company that helps athletes with their nutrition needs. So I consulted them for my dietary needs and general health.


My childhood friend Dr Deval Doshi kept a regular check on my mental and physical health. She recommended Sports Med in Mumbai for physical training and I then consulted a physiotherapist there.


I trained extensively with a friend and colleague, VR Rajesh, who spent a lot of time training with me, going up and down hillocks at his farm.


My wife put me onto breathing exercises.


I then met Jayesh Morvankar, who runs Odati Adventures, and he charted out a whole trekking and hiking plan for the entire year of my training and the itinerary 
for the EBC trek.


I started weight and endurance training at Gold’s Gym at Goregaon.