Why the Himalayas Are Not High Enough for Mountaineer Dziugas Skrupskelis 

Nov 8
Kilo Heroes

Dziugas Skrupskelis has an inquisitive mind that can get him out of any situation – from climbing ice on a frozen waterfall to laying out a strategy that would help a struggling product flourish. He is the Chief Creative Officer at Kilo Health and a determined mountaineer preparing to climb the Himalayas next year. 

“Life is nothing without curiosity,” he says as he defines his many interests ranging from sailing and cycling to diving, playing board games, or sampling different survivalist programs. However, his main interest today is mountaineering – and he got there by accident.

Choosing between one of three paths

“One day, I decided to make the most out of the next 8 months of my life,” he said, talking about how he chose to explore mountaineering, piloting a yacht, and diving. 

Each of these choices was quite random. He found an ad on Facebook that invited people interested in taking a mountaineering class and decided to join. Then, he learned about getting a yacht captain’s license from a colleague at Kilo Heath. Finally, after a trip to Thailand, he wanted to learn to dive without an instructor.

So, in those 8 months, he got his sailing and diving licenses and completed a mountaineering course. 

Following any of these three paths could lead him to interesting adventures. But he didn’t need to roll the dice to know that his heart belongs to the mountains. 

Leveling up as a mountaineer

He spent around 3 years trying various types of climbing – lead climbing, ice climbing, TRAD climbing, rock climbing, multi-pitch climbing, and bouldering. “I’ve been exploring everything related to mountains for a couple of years now, and I still consider myself a beginner,” Dziugas explains. 

So far, he has climbed some of the highest peaks in Italy, Switzerland, Sakartvelo, Slovenia, France, and Poland. “I’ve covered the peaks that are 4,000 and 5,000 meters high. Right now, I want to climb a mountain in the 6,000-meter zone. However, the route difficulty is also very important – you could have more trouble climbing a more technical route than going up a higher mountain,” he explains.

The closest peaks to Vilnius that are higher than 6,000 meters are either in South America or in Asia – the Himalayas. For the first 6,000-meter peak, he chose the latter option and is currently preparing for this trip. 

When the final boss is yourself

It might seem that the main issue while ascending a peak could be the cold, frosty wind or rapidly reducing oxygen. Dziugas thinks it truly depends on the person – everyone finds their own challenge while climbing. 

For some, it would be fighting the weather; for others – building up the physical endurance or mental stamina necessary to climb: “Challenge comes in many layers. But nature tends to humble you. When you are in the mountains, you must respect them. Having a big ego and not seeing your own shortcomings here can lead you to death.”

Climbing the mountains is not as romantic as you might think. Dziugas mentions that most of the time, he would start summiting in the middle of the night, because when the sun is up, the snow starts to melt. Due to the climate crisis, the conditions are worsening, and the weather becomes more unpredictable every year.

“The views are breathtaking – but you don’t have that much time to appreciate them as you ascend the summit,” he explains. After all, most of your attention is focused on the climbing itself and making sure you and your team members come back home safely. During the climb, you might get a headache or high altitude sickness that is followed by various unpleasant symptoms.

Dziugas remembers that in these moments, you start to wonder why you do it in the first place. But he explains that it’s an exciting challenge that combines individual resilience and teamwork: “When you push your limits, your mental and physical resilience increases.” 

Any mountaineer has to be in sync with their team but also focused on themselves, their mental state, and the environment.

“Mountaineering requires taking controlled risks. One of my mentors often says that the best mountain is the one from which you come home alive. It takes courage to climb up – but sometimes, turning back can be even harder,” he explains. 

What’s it like to work with mountaineer Dziugas?

Dziugas believes that having a big ego can cause you trouble both in the mountains and in the office. His philosophy revolves around co-creation and teamwork – you can achieve anything if you embrace everyone’s strengths.

At work, you can find Dziugas in one of the two modes. He is either hyper-creative, splashing wild ideas all over the place, or 100% focused and precisely delivering solutions that help our products thrive. 

He was one of the first people to join Kilo Health and an important part of the legendary hackathon that helped create the very first product in Kilo Health. They opened the hackathon with the sound of a gong and launched the product with a disco ball and smoke machine. 

One day later, they knew they had hit gold: the product had a positive ROI right off the bat. “If I could ask anything from people joining my team, it would be to stay curious,” he summarizes. 

Dziugas helped launch digital health and wellness products, built up the creative, design, and other departments, conquered the highest peaks in Europe, and stayed humble in the process.

Today, he focuses on growth, business optimization, and complex problem-solving. His team takes poorly performing projects and turns them into profitable companies that can work independently.

Would you like to join team Dziugas? They are looking for a Head of Growth

Kilo Health is a digital health and wellness company with over 4 million customers worldwide. The second fastest-growing company in Europe according to the Financial Times FT 1,000 in 2022. The company currently has 700+ experts, 30+ products, and offices in 7 European cities.

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