No mountain too high for Bengaluru doctor

Bengaluru Doctor Raghunath SK has been trekking for the last decade and has reached top of Himachal Pradesh's Shirgan Tungu which is at 13,500.
Urological-oncologist, Doctor Raghunath
Urological-oncologist, Doctor Raghunath

BENGALURU: You would think that after two to three robotic surgeries a day, Dr Raghunath S K would be bone-tired but the urological-oncologist remains far from exhausted. His secret? Climbing mountains, which is as close to his heart as his medical profession.

While others see a medical profession and mountaineering as a strange combination, the doctor thanks the latter for keeping him mentally and physically fit at work. “The medical profession needs concentration and dedication, just like trekking. My passion for trekking and mountaineering revitalises me at work,” says the senior consultant, uro-oncologist, Aster RV Hospital, JP Nagar.

The Himalayan trek remains the greatest achievement of
Dr Raghunath Pic: Nagaraja Gadekal

This 49-year-old adventurer refers to his interest as “intense work” rather than just a hobby.

That he is also an active member of the Karnataka Mountaineering Association only proves his point further. “My journey as a mountaineer started with small trips with friends but I have evolved as a professional trekker over time. Being a good mountaineer takes a lot of practice, discipline, physical and mental strength, knowledge of terrains, understanding of weather and proficiency in using climbing equipment. In that way, every expedition and journey is a different experience that has brought a lot of changes in my personal and professional life,” explains Raghunath, who has been trekking for the last eight to 10 years.  

Raghunath has climbed different peaks and hills in many places, including local treks to Madikeri and Chikmagalur and international expeditions in South America. “Climbing a mountain always gives me immense pleasure, no matter where the place is. My best trek in the country was the Himalayan trek, where I reached a height of 13,500 ft and the top of Shirgan Tungu in Himachal Pradesh in May this year,” he recalls. When asked about the challenges he faced during his expedition, Dr Raghunath adds, “Continuous practice can bring about tremendous changes in life. The same applies to the performance of a mountaineer. My Himalayan trek was not something that happened as an impulsive decision. Through continuous practice, I have gained good physical fitness and endurance level. I was also accustomed to the weather, food and terrain. So, it wasn’t very challenging to climb the mountain.”

The Himalayan trek remains his best achievement, however, Raghunath’s unforgettable one is something else.

“My favourite moment is walking through the vineyards in Casablanca Valley in Chile. Watching those vineyards from the top of the mountains was a breath-taking moment,” says Raghunath.

It comes as no surprise that the doctor is planning a trip whenever he has free time on his hands. Trekking doesn’t just bring him closer to nature but also helps boost his creativity.

“When I am surrounded by flora and fauna, or misty weather and green mountains, I get more ideas for my work. This is something that we miss in a busy work environment. As a doctor, it is very important to be creative also,” shares Dr Raghunath, who has performed more than 2,000 surgeries, including complex ones like nerve-sparing radical prostatectomy (for prostate cancer), nerve-sparing radical cystectomy and ileal conduit and neobladder (for urinary bladder cancer). The doctor’s love for trekking has spread to his colleagues too.

“It gives me a lot of happiness and satisfaction when my colleagues tell me that they too want to trek and spend time in a calm and lush environment,” he says.

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The New Indian Express