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Cover Story

Meet Gian Singh Kothli

Dikshita Nahar Darpan, 20 Jul, 2022
  • Meet Gian Singh Kothli

"When I moved to Vancouver, I was looking for outdoor activities that I could indulge in and I ended up walking around Stanley Park. I started hiking the trails in and around Stanley Park and just fell in love with hiking. I absolutely enjoy the company of fellow hikers and the energy they bring in."-Gian Singh Kothli.

Gian Singh Kothli: An 87-year-old living legend and an inspiration in the South Asian Community, Gian Singh Kothli is an all-rounder. He has hiked the Grouse Grind Trail over 210 times and the Snow Shoe Grind trail over 152 times.

If “age is just a number” had to be a person, Gian Singh Kothli would be the perfect embodiment of this very statement. At the age of 87, he is still filled with so much energy and passion that is rather infectious. A free-spirited who loves nature, Gian Singh Kothli is a renowned name in the Sikh Community. He is a scholar, writer, poet, educationist and advocate who is an inspiration to many. Through powerful and meaningful words, he spreads positivity, love and the Sikh culture wherever he goes.

Sports have been a major part of his life and he has always been a person who is active and has immense love for the outdoors. Upon moving to Vancouver, he was constantly trying to find an outdoor activity that he can indulge in and be closer to nature. While walking through Stanley Park, his love for hiking grew deeper and deeper. He is the uncrowned king of Grouse Grind which is one of the most difficult hikes in Vancouver. He was featured on Global TV News for his infectious energy and amazing athletic power of acing the Ground Grind on a weekly basis. He also had received an appreciation letter from British Columbia’s Premier John Horgan for his undying spirit and contributions to Punjabi literature, poetry, and having climbed the Grouse Grind over 200 times.

He has climbed the Grouse Grind trail nearly 210 times till date which is a remarkable achievement for any age. He has done almost all hikes around Vancouver and enjoys spending time outdoors - exploring and inspiring people. He has also hiked Dam Mountain and Thunderbird Ridge to name a few. During the winters, he likes to hike the Snowshoe Grind trail which he has done over 152 times till date. He usually hikes alone or with friends and loves to walk around Stanley Park along the sea wall. He is truly an inspiration for many to head out and explore the beautiful outdoors. 

What motivated you to start your hiking journey? 

All my life I’ve been playing sports to keep myself physically and mentally fit. When I moved to Vancouver, I was looking for outdoor activities that I could indulge in and I ended up walking around Stanley Park. I started hiking the trails in and around Stanley Park and just fell in love with hiking. I absolutely enjoy the company of fellow hikers and the energy they bring in. The views, hiking journey and people I meet along the way are the main driving forces for me to start hiking.

What has been the most memorable outdoor experience that you’ve had so far?

To me, each hike is a memorable one as each time I hike, it is a brand new experience.

Do you have any advice for people who are looking to start their outdoor adventure journey?

While it may seem hard, it is a great way to exercise and keep your body and mind healthy. Be prepared and face your fears. Enjoy the journey and learn from it as it’ll help you grow as a person. Don’t run away from your fears and limitations, rather conquer them and create a better version of yourself. 

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