Bharath Samrat has a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Calgary and works as a Facility Engineer at Keyera Corp. But this story isn’t about his job – it’s about his “small dream”.
The 28-year-old Engineer dreamed of climbing Africa’s tallest mountain. A tall order for anyone, for Bharath it was an even bigger challenge because he has femoral dysplasia (a condition that has left him without knee joints or thigh limbs) and stands only 3’ 7” (109 cm).
Bharath doesn’t believe in letting anything hold him back. From learning to walk when the doctors said he never would, to skiing and skydiving and driving a vehicle with hand controls, Bharath has learned to conquer life’s challenges. So on February 18, 2014, Bharath stood on the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, his climb to the top of Africa a reality.
His plan was to ascent via the Umbew route, which would be the shortest distance to the peak (5,895 metres above sea level), but the most difficult for Bharath as it was also the steepest path.
In addition to hiking and swimming, Bharath worked with a fitness trainer to prepare for the climb, concentrating on mobility and increasing his upper body strength to compensate for limited leg strength and give him endurance to face the mountain.
He kept his plans a secret until he was on his way to Tanzania, but enthusiastic supporters from Keyera and from Bharath’s church were at the Calgary International Airport on February 24, 2014 to welcome him home!