SCALING HEIGHTS AND HEALING LIVES | Dr Shariq Masoodi’s 2-decade journey from Endocrinology to Peaks of Kashmir

Srinagar, Dec 12: In the rugged landscapes of Kashmir, where every mountain tells a tale, Dr Shariq Masoodi, a distinguished Endocrinologist, has etched his narrative of adventure and passion over the past two decades.

Beyond the corridors of medical expertise, Dr Masoodi embarked on a remarkable journey through the towering peaks, blending his professional acumen with an unwavering love for the mountains.
This is the story of a man who has not only healed bodies but has also found solace and inspiration in the majestic heights of Kashmir’s untamed wilderness.

As a fervent mountaineer, Dr Shariq Masoodi finds it challenging to ignore the allure of the mountains. Driven by a deep passion for trekking and climbing, he constantly seeks uncharted territories. His extensive knowledge and hands-on experience in the field make him a revered figure among mountain enthusiasts, particularly the younger generation, who regard him as a role model in the valley’s community of mountaineers and trekkers.

Demonstrating outstanding intellect, he not only achieved academic excellence but also fostered a keen interest in sports, notably hockey. During his time in Medical College, a newfound passion blossomed – trekking.

In a candid chat with Greater Kashmi, Dr Shariq Masoodi said that In 1986, he embarked on his first expedition, a challenging 4-day trek through Pahalgam to Gund Sonamarg (Via Sekivas), defying the odds without guides, horses, or maps.

Due to the unfavourable situation in Kashmir during the 1990s, Dr Shariq had to set aside his beloved trekking.

However, destiny brought him back to the mountains in 2014 during a genomic diabetes medicine fellowship in the United States. Eager to revive his trekking spirit, he joined the JKMHC (now JKMAC) group in 2015 for a trek to Lab-e-kachaal Bandipore, marking the beginning of his “2.0 season” of trekking. Guiding the ‘pathfinders,’ his trekking group, Dr. Shariq has achieved extraordinary feats, including completing the challenging Kashmir Great Lakes trek in a mere moving time of 24 hours, a feat that usually takes a week.

He has summited countless mountain peaks and explored roughly 196 high-altitude alpine lakes, a remarkable achievement that only his fellow Pathfinder friend, Tani Khan has surpassed.

His passion extends to cycling, covering impressive distances daily and exploring remote locations. “On Sundays, when I am trekking, I usually cycle to a new destination with my cycling companions,” he says.

Beyond his adventures, Dr. Shariq is an advocate of lifestyle medicine. His commitment to practising and preaching healthy living is evident in his social media posts, eagerly anticipated by his followers.

As a true mountain enthusiast, he has left an indelible mark on the trekking and mountaineering community, inspiring future generations. While International Mountain Day emphasises restoring mountain ecosystems, Dr Shariq’s mission transcends peaks – he aims to restore a healthy lifestyle among the masses, especially the younger generation.

His story is one of perseverance, passion, and a relentless spirit in the pursuit of adventure and well-being. Sharing his thoughts about the health benefits of Trekking, and mountain climbing, Dr Shariq said that walking up the mountains can offer a host of benefits to both our body and mind. “Trekking improves cardiovascular strength and cleanses the lungs, as trekking locations are mainly away from the hustle and bustle of the city, without much pollution”, said Dr Shariq.

He said that engaging in hiking, trekking, and other mountain sports offers a comprehensive approach to enhancing overall health. These activities provide a potent combination of physical and mental benefits, promoting a strong and healthy body and a balanced mind.

“Remember to choose activities wisely, seek professional advice when necessary, and embrace the journey towards a healthier and happier you,” he said.

Dr Shariq said that Mountain climbing and hiking have their own set of benefits for your long-term health. In a world filled with bustling cities and fast-paced lifestyles, a walk through the mountains offers a myriad of health benefits, especially through activities like hiking and mountain climbing. The cardio exercise done before and during the trek prevents lifestyle diseases like diabetes, hypertension and cholesterol, he said.

While trekking can help keep bone diseases, like osteoporosis, and vitamin-D deficiency at bay, it is also a good time to kick addiction issues like smoking and alcohol, he said.

“Hiking, trekking, and other mountain sports are not just enjoyable activities but also powerful tools for promoting both physical and mental well-being. This statement delves deeper into the specific benefits these pursuits offer and how they can positively impact your overall health” he added.

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