Mumbai: Khyati Mehta, a 39-year-old amputee is the first woman to climb the Kalsubai peak with a prosthetic leg. Kalsubai is the highest peak in Maharashtra at 5,400 ft and a 6.6 km long trek that has a moderately hard difficulty level. This feat which was performed on 26th January 2022 on the occasion of the 73rd Republic Day of India to celebrate Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, holds a record title under India Book of Records and Asia Book of Records, 2023.
Born with 60% disabilities including bilateral flexion contracture & bilateral varus legs, Khyati has scaled the Surkandadevi Temple trek which is a steep 3 km trek at 9000 ft in Uttarakhand. In the past, she has trekked the 5,200 ft Vaishanavdevi peak. Being modest about her achievements, Khyati says, “I am still a trekker but wish to be a mountaineer someday and reach for a more technical climbing that will help me scale unexplored summits.”
Khyati is a passionate traveller who has travelled to more than 20 countries of the world. With her disabilities and a prosthetic foot, she did sky diving in New York, trekked Taman Negara Forest in Malaysia, travelled to North Cape Norway, scuba dived at Langkawi, Malaysia and Andaman, paraglided at Bir Biling, Palampur, and did white water river rafting at the highest altitude of Ladakh. Little wonder that she is entrepreneuring as a Travel & Visa Consultant and has her travel agency in Mumbai.
Khyati has also gained the reputation of one of the Fastest Walking Marathoners with her participation in more than 20 marathons. When asked what challenges an amputee faces during the treks, marathons, and similar adventures, Khyati says “Every 30 mins or 1 hour, I have to remove my prosthetic limb and give a few minutes to relax my muscles and the stump. I often get blisters on the stump, develop bursitis on my hips or endure severe back pain. During the Kalsubai trek, there were around 6 steeply inclined ladders with wide railings. My deformed hands cannot extend to hold the railings, at the same time, my hands don’t have the ergonomic grip to hold the railings. But with the support of my co-trekkers and god’s grace, I managed to reach the top.”
Besides planning new adventures, Khyati is busy giving shape to her new startup wherein she designs uniquely curated travel packages for specially-abled communities. “Being an ardent traveller, I have experienced innumerable challenges which specially-abled people like me have to endure. With my experience and expertise, I want to design hassle-free and smooth travel for disabled people that accommodates their shortcomings while allowing them to optimally explore the destination.”