He is an Army Veteran, mountaineer, endurance running and has lead a team to Mt. Everest
Lt Col Romil Barthwal
Major Sunil Shetty, SM (Retd)
Lt Colonel Romil Barthwal is the CEO of Boots and Crampons, an award-winning adventure and mountaineering company that has done multiple expeditions in Africa, Argentina, Russia, Australia, Nepal and India
Q1. Why are Faujis naturally drawn to mountaineering and adventure sports?
Fauji life is more of an adventure. Once you are in the army, every day is an adventure, be it rolling, sliding mountains that primarily start punishments, but then once you start doing it frequently, it becomes a habit, and you start enjoying it.
Q2. How was the transition from the forces to taking up mountaineering as a career path?
Initially, when I joined the army as a National Defense Academy Cadet, I always wanted a job where fitness is vital and not a desk job.
When I decided to leave the army, I told myself if I can think about fitness at the age of 18. At 40, I should give fitness equal importance since that is the age where your fitness and well-being require more attention. I led the army team to Mt. Everest. So, I knew beforehand that if not the army, then mountaineering is what I will take up.
Q3. Tell us about the endurance events that you take part in?
It started with endurance runs like crosscountry during academic days. Although I wasn’t good at it, I continued running because I loved it. I believe that if you keep doing the same thing again and again, you become better and keep improving. Then one day, the army decided that they wanted a team leader for Mt. Everest, for which I volunteered, and as luck would have it, I was selected out of twenty-five odd officers to lead the team.
Q4. Tell us about your company, Boots and Crampons?
It has a legacy of leading climbing expeditions to the world’s highest peaks and treks to the more remote corners of the
globe. Our company Boots and Crampons ensures world-class mountaineering services while ensuring your safety.
Q5. Tell us about the service that you offer as part of a mountaineering expedition.
So somebody who wants to get into mountaineering has no experience; we ask them to reach to the desired fitness level. We have graded expeditions into three levels, beginner, intermediate and advanced. So, somebody who is new to mountaineering can start with the beginners level.
We have various courses like adventure courses, basic mountaineering courses, advanced mountaineering courses, rescue courses.
We lead an Eight-year-old climber to Africa’s highest mountain, Mt. Kilimanjaro, this year. Last year, we had taken an 8.5-year-old who was awarded the Balveer Puraskar on Republic Day.