Project Avatar 1051x700

To dream means to be bold, coura­geous, fear­less, sen­si­ble and above all, to believe in your­self. The dif­fer­ence between hav­ing a dream and to make this dream come true depends on the strength of your spirit — the belief in your­self, how much you want to achieve this dream, and what effort would you invest to make it hap­pen. This divine Strength of spirit dri­ves mankind to new horizons.

My name is Atanas Ska­tov, I was born in 1978 in Sliven, Bul­garia. I’m an agron­o­mist and entomologist.I hold a Mas­ter degree in Plant Preser­va­tion from the Agri­cul­tural uni­ver­sity — Plov­div, Bul­garia and aPhD degree in Agri­cul­tural sci­ence from the Hum­boldt Uni­ver­sity of Berlin, Gemany,February 2005. I have worked as a sci­en­tist in Bul­garia and Ger­many, as a uni­ver­sity teacher in Sofia and as a man­ager in the pri­vate sec­tor in Bul­garia and Germany.

I am con­duct­ing an exper­i­ment with myself for sev­eral years and here I will tell you briefly about it. I do not claim that every­thing I do in my life is right quite to the con­trary, I am open to crit­i­cism and dis­cus­sions, because this way we are get­ting closer to the truth. The world is chang­ing every day, and we our­selves are chang­ing and noth­ing can be extreme in terms of state­ments and actions. It is impor­tant for any human being to have the cor­rect infor­ma­tion and to take deci­sions on his own.

The exper­i­ment is sup­posed to test whether an ordi­nary per­son on vegan diet is able to over­come strong phys­i­cal and men­tal chal­lenges. The most impor­tant is to know if this diet regime is suit­able for mankind, because in this way we will be able to sig­nif­i­cantly lower or even dis­con­tinue the con­sump­tion of ani­mals, which is asso­ci­ated not only to many advan­tages and ben­e­fits for the human health, but also to pro­tect­ing the planet from global pol­lu­tion and find­ing a way to feed the increas­ingly grow­ing pop­u­la­tion of peo­ple on planet Earth.The agri­cul­tural land on which we grow our food and the food for the ani­mals we eat, is lim­ited and although new farm­land is devel­oped in some areas, in other areas this land is urban­ized and its sta­tus is changed mostly to indus­trial and res­i­den­tial use.Either way, the agri­cul­tural land can­not grow indef­i­nitely, it is lim­ited. But the pop­u­la­tion can grow as long as there is some­thing to eat. The major share of the cul­ti­vated agri­cul­tural land and the pas­ture lands are intended for ani­mal feed. If we reduce the con­sump­tion of meat and ani­mal prod­ucts, there will be more space for plant food for humans and thus the world’s pop­u­la­tion can grow twice as much. Another very impor­tant fact is that the indus­trial ani­mal breed­ing is a very big pol­luter on the planet. The destruc­tion of the ozone layer is mainly due to the methane, which is excreted by the diges­tive sys­tem of the ani­mals. Accord­ing to the United Nations data, the share of the green­house gases as a result of ani­mal breed­ing is about 50%.Billions of ani­mals are bred and eaten on the planet each year, and they are con­sum­ing 23 of drink­ing water and con­tribut­ing to the water pol­lu­tion and the entire planet. Also, in order to meet the needs of the mar­ket for meat and ani­mal prod­ucts, more forests and jun­gles are trans­formed into pas­tures or used for the needs of ani­mal breeding.This indus­try has become the largest con­sumer of drink­ing water and user of nat­ural resources. The exter­mi­na­tion and exploita­tion of ani­mals by humans is another impor­tant topic, which I do not want to dis­cuss at present. This planet is a haven for all ani­mal species and humans and every­one should have an equal chance to live on it with­out being grown for human consumption.

I’ve been a veg­e­tar­ian since Jan­u­ary 2007, then at the begin­ning of 2012, I excluded all food of ani­mal ori­gin from my menu, except honey. Since May 12015, honey has been also out of my diet.

In order to test my body phys­i­cally and men­tally I chose the alpin­ism and orga­nized two projects — SE7EN SUM­MITS VEGANand Speed x 14 x 8000 x Vegan”, which are described in more detail at point 3 below. For me, the moun­tain is some­thing very spe­cial, where I have found every­thing I needed. There, I feel free, bal­anced, in com­fort with myself and I can reflect on every­thing that excites me and where I can find answers to the ques­tions that I am ask­ing myself.I feel that the moun­tain fills me up with energy and helps me to dis­cover very fine details of my char­ac­ter. So, I can only rec­om­mend it to those who have not touched the magic of the moun­tain yet, and are will­ing to do so, just do it.If it is not your place, just find your own place. Every­one has its place on the planet where he feels well bal­anced and in har­mony with him­self and the surroundings.

It is very impor­tant to show that a man who have never played sports and have no coaches, lead­ers, teach­ers, man­agers and expe­ri­ence in the moun­tains, is able to achieve the desired results. At the begin­ning of 2012, I started to pre­pare for Sub­pro­ject 1, which envis­ages climb­ing the high­est sum­mits of the seven con­ti­nents on our planet with­out con­sump­tion of food of ani­mal ori­gin — as a vegan. Train­ings are con­ducted in Bul­garia and abroad. In order to develop and improve my phys­i­cal and men­tal con­di­tion and to acquire the nec­es­sary skills and expe­ri­ence I started prac­tic­ing moun­tain walk­ing, jog­ging, cycling and then added yoga, swim­ming and climbing.

In regard to my health con­di­tion, I am con­duct­ing detailed med­ical and lab­o­ra­tory tests on a reg­u­lar basis. Addi­tion­ally, I keep records con­tain­ing descrip­tions of the phys­i­cal activ­ity, food con­sump­tion by type and quan­tity and other rel­e­vant details.

Project goals

My goal is to show to more peo­ple that there is another way of life besides the most com­mon one. That, if a man who had never done sports before could cope with one of the biggest chal­lenges – high alti­tude alpin­ism, it means that we can live a full life with­out ani­mal prod­ucts. Behind all this we can see the Strength of spirit and the unlim­ited human capabilities.

The key goal of this project is to test whether the lack of ani­mal food in the diet of a human would adversely affect his phys­i­cal and men­tal capa­bil­i­ties.More­over, to check whether with­out the con­sump­tion of food of ani­mal ori­gin, the human organ­ism can func­tion well and can achieve even higher phys­i­cal and men­tal performance.

Another goal of the project is to show that there are no impos­si­ble things and every­thing is achiev­able if you believe in it and if you make the nec­es­sary effort for that. To explore our own body and dis­cover what is best for it while try­ing to fully pro­tect the envi­ron­ment and live in har­mony with our­selves and the nature. To believe in our­selves and in the strength of our capabilities.

This is whyI started climb­ing all the high­est con­ti­nen­tal sum­mits of the planet as well as all sum­mits higher than eight thou­sand meters with­out the con­sump­tion of food of ani­mal ori­gin from a man who has never been an ath­lete and has not prac­ticed any sports.

To seek the lim­its of the human capa­bil­i­ties and the lim­its of the vegan which are directly related to the Strength of spirit and belief in the unlim­ited pos­si­bil­i­ties, are my top pri­or­ity. Every­thing must hap­pen first in the head and then to believe in it, and after that to apply it in practice.


Start of the project01.01.2013.

End of the project20.06.2017.

Sub­pro­ject Goals:

1Climb­ing the high­est mount on Earth – Ever­est, as a vegan (for the first time in the world);

2Climb­ing the seven high­est con­ti­nen­tal sum­mits as a vegan (for the first time in the world);


• Climb­ing the high­est sum­mit in Africa – Uhuru, 5895 m., on 10.01.2013;

• Climb­ing the high­est sum­mit in Europe – Elbrus, 5642 m., on 06.07.2013;

• Solo climb­ing the high­est sum­mit in South Amer­ica – Aconcagua, 6962 m., on 04.01.2014

• Climb­ing the high­est sum­mit on Earth – Ever­est, 8848 m, on 24.05.2014, and going down to camp ABC at 6440 m. on the same day; The first vegan in the world to climb Mount Everest.

• Climb­ing the high­est sum­mit in Aus­tralia and Ocea­nia — Carstensz Pyra­mid, 4884 m. at the island of New Guinea on 19.112014;

• Climb­ing the high­est sum­mit in Antarc­tica — Vin­son Mas­sif, 4892 m. on 22.12.2014;

• Climb­ing the high­est sum­mit in North Amer­ica –Denali, 6194 m. on 20.06.2017;

On 20th of June 2017 Dr. Ska­tov com­leted the Sub­pro­ject 1: “SE7EN SUM­MITS VEGAN” and become the first vegan of the world with this achiev­ment. Seven Sum­mits Summiter!

Results dur­ing the prepa­ra­tion period:

• First place at the „24-​hour moun­tain bike marathon“ with my part­ner – 2012;

• Third place at the „Mur­gash Velo­rally Cup” — moun­tain bik­ing, 63 km, with +2500 denive­la­tion with my part­ner – 2012;

• Cross­ing Kom – Emine in Bul­garia – 2012;

• 100 km. moun­tain walk­ing „Aleko“ for 17 hours — 2012;

• Tour of Vitosha 100 km. by bike for 5 hours and 27 min­utes — 2012;

• Speed climb­ing of the seven high­est peaks of Bul­garia for five days — 2012;

• Sev­enth place at “ХСо Adven­ture Cup 2012”: (256 km, 3 days, 7 disciplines);

• Speed climb­ing of Cherni Vrah by bike — 2012;

• “Velo­rally Zarata”, Bul­garia — 2012;

• Solo reach­ing 6900 m. alti­tude of the Lenin peak— 7132 m., Pamir — 2013;

• Climb­ing the high­est sum­mit in Ger­many — Zugspitze — 2962 m. from Garmisch-​Partenkirchen, 25 km. + 2570 m. for 6 hours and return­ing on the same day (50 km for 11 hours) – 2013;

• Trekking in the Bavar­ian Alps and climb­ing peaks under 2500 m. – 2013;

• Par­tic­i­pa­tion in the “Shu­men Plateau” — bike rally — 2013;

Speed x 14 x 8000 x Vegan

Start of the project01.09.2015.

End of the project31.12.2020.

His­tory of the climb­ing of the 14 high­est peaks of our planet:

The first per­son to climb all 14 eight-​thousanders was Rein­hold Mess­ner, who com­pleted this project in 1988. It took him 18 years to climb all of the 14 sum­mits with­out the use of arti­fi­cial oxy­gen. For those 27 years, until now, a total of 34 peo­ple man­aged to set foot on all of the14 sum­mits, among which there are three women. Of those 34 peo­ple, 14 did not use arti­fi­cial oxy­gen while climbing.The fastest climb­ing of the 14 sum­mits up to now is done for eight years. Excel­lent phys­i­cal and men­tal prepa­ra­tion is needed for climb­ing each of these sum­mits, as well as con­sid­er­able amount of money.

Goals of Sub­pro­ject 2:

1. Climb­ing 4 eight-​thousanders in one sea­son for 100 days; (for the first time in the world) – this one has been achieved;

2. Climb­ing of the 14 eight-​thousanders as a vegan (for the first time in the world);

3. Climb­ing the 14 eight-​thousanders for less than 6 years, or as quickly as pos­si­ble on a vegan diet, to chal­lenge the body as much as pos­si­ble (for the first time in the world);

Even peo­ple con­sum­ing all kinds of food and hav­ing pro­fes­sional alpine train­ing have not climbed all 14 eight-​thousanders in such short period.

2015 Manaslu 8163m Himalaya Nepal Second vegan in the world
2016 Annapurna I 8091m Himalaya Nepal First vegan in the world
2016 Dhaulagiri 8172m Himalaya Nepal Reached up to 7900м, alpine style
2016 Makalu 8485m Himalaya Nepal First vegan in the world/​Expedition took only 4 days in alpine style
2016 Gasherbrum II 8035m Karakorum Pakistan Reached up to 6350м
2017 Lhotse 8516m Himalaya Nepal First vegan
2017 Everest South 8848m Himalaya Nepal First vegan two times on Everest
2018 Cho Oyu 8201m Himalaya China First vegan without Sherpa and supplemental oxygen
2019 Kangchenjunga 8586m Himalaya Nepal Returned from the top to base camp in the same day
2019 Gasherbrum I 8080m Karakorum Pakistan Without Sherpa
2019 Gasherbrum II 8035m Karakorum Pakistan Without Sherpa
2019 Dhaulagiri 8172m Himalaya Nepal Fourth eight-thousander in 2019
Find­ings and Conclusion

I have been a vegan for more than five years and I can def­i­nitely say that for the time being I feel very well and at this stage I do not intend to change my diet regime. I con­tinue explor­ing new plant foods as well as their combinations.On the other hand, some doc­tors are shar­ing the opin­ion that at the moment my organ­ism is con­sum­ing the reserves of my body and after the 5th or the 6th year as a vegan, my organ­ism will suf­fer from health complications.I respect the opin­ion of the doc­tors, but for me it is far more impor­tant to test how my organ­ism will func­tion in the future. Of course, as I already said, this is an exper­i­ment and some­thing can be changed at all times, if nec­es­sary. I believe exper­i­ment­ing is needed in order to find the opti­mal solution.

Every few months I am going through med­ical exam­i­na­tion and giv­ing blood sam­ples, in order to mon­i­tor the sta­tus of major health indi­ca­tors. The med­ical tests, I have been sub­ject to, does not show any­thing dis­turb­ing. The lev­els of vit­a­min B12 and cal­cium are nor­mal, just iron and biliru­bin are slightly higher. How­ever, I am tak­ing vit­a­min B12 twice per year for 3 months just as a pre­cau­tion­ary measure.

For the period 2014 — 2016 I have made more than 20 pre­sen­ta­tions in var­i­ous Bul­gar­ian towns. My exam­ple con­tin­ues to attract young peo­ple who love the moun­tain and the healthy lifestyle and all those dream­ers who believe in them­selves, and who want to find them­selves, and through my exam­ple, I am clearly show­ing the real­iza­tion of the change to which they aspire.

My mes­sage to all is to find what makes them happy and in bal­ance with them­selves and the envi­ron­ment. Any dream can come true, if you believe in it and you make the nec­es­sary effort. I want to show that there are no impos­si­ble things. Every­thing is pos­si­ble and let every­one believe in their dreams and the strength of their spirit.

But let us reflect on ani­mal breed­ing, what it gives us and what it takes from us. For me it is impor­tant that all peo­ple have infor­ma­tion about the food, espe­cially of ani­mal ori­gin, and what are the results from its pro­duc­tion. How the ani­mal food got to the table and what did it cause. Then every­one can decide for them­selves what to eat and how to live on this planet.

If this diet proves to be healthy for us humans, it could reduce the con­sump­tion of meat and ani­mal prod­ucts, which will lead to a huge reduc­tion in the pol­lu­tion of our planet result­ing from ani­mal breed­ing and pro­duc­tion of food of ani­mal ori­gin in indus­trial quantities.Also, agri­cul­tural land will be released and can be used for the pro­duc­tion of plant food and thus could help in solv­ing the prob­lem with the world hunger and the safe increase in the pop­u­la­tion on our planet. On the other hand, this will stop the destruc­tion of forests and jun­gles, which now takes place in order to pro­vide for the needs of ani­mal breed­ing and will reduce the con­sump­tion of drink­ing water supplies.Planting new forests and jun­gles could begin on the released agri­cul­tural land. The exper­i­ment is of great impor­tance to all mankind and the preser­va­tion of the nature on our planet.

We have a unique planet, which is a won­der­ful place for the exis­tence of our human race. Unfor­tu­nately, with the glob­al­iza­tion and indus­tri­al­iza­tion, we are destroy­ing more and more the nature and espe­cially the ecosys­tems by build­ing vast and numer­ous ani­mal breed­ing farms. Every day plant and ani­mal species are dis​ap​pear​ing​.It hurts me for this planet and I want our chil­dren, grand­chil­dren and great-​grandchildren to have the same chance as me to enjoy the beauty and inspi­ra­tion of our nature, to share what I see now with my eyes, smell with my nose, feel with my skin and breathe with my lungs.Just let us all try to live as envi­ron­men­tally friendly as we can, and to try to pro­tect our planet from pol­lu­tion. No man can call him­self and to think about him­self as envi­ron­men­tal­ist while con­sum­ing food of ani­mal ori­gin at the same time.

We have to go back to Mother Nature. She teaches us many things and gives us answers to a lot of ques­tions. We need to pro­tect the nature because we will lose it.