A British army veteran who lost both his legs while serving in Afghanistan has become the first double above-knee amputee to conquer Mount Everest.
Hari Budha Magar, 43, reached the world’s tallest peak
13 years after losing his legs in an improvised explosive device (IED) blast in 2010.
The Gurkha veteran arrived at Everest in Nepal on April 17, marking exactly 13 years since the life-altering incident that resulted in the loss of his legs. Following an 18-day wait for the weather to clear, he began the challenging journey that led him to the 8,849 meter summit on May 19.
“I hope my climb will help change the perception of persons with disabilities,” Magar told Reuters
. “I would like to encourage all people to take to climbing any mountain of their choice,” he said.
For the trip, Magar acquired specially designed prosthetic legs that could withstand the icy conditions.
He affectionately refers to them as his “spider legs” and ensured their warmth by installing heating socks.
Upon reaching the peak, Magat relayed to ABC
what he had to go through via a satellite phone conversation.
We just had to carry on and push for the top, no matter how much it hurt or how long it took. If I can climb to the top of the world, then anyone, regardless of their disability, can achieve their dream. No matter how big your dreams, no matter how challenging your disability, with the right mindset anything is possible.
Magar, who is also the first double above-knee amputee to scale Nepal’s Mera Peak and Chulu Far East, was among those who campaigned to overturn the country’s ban on disabled individuals climbing Everest in 2018.
The collective efforts of the climbers and disability organizations successfully led to the ban being lifted, opening doors for more amputees to pursue their dreams of climbing the mountain. Throughout his challenging ascent, thoughts of his family and supporters provided Magar with the strength and motivation to complete the perilous task.
“When things got really tough, it was the thought of my amazing family and everyone who’s helped me get onto the mountain that pushed me to the top,” he was quoted as saying.
He is currently raising funds for five charities with a goal to generate 884,900 pounds (approximately $1.1 million) in a symbolic gesture representing the height of Mount Everest.
Magar, who lives in Canterbury, England, plans to eventually return to the very site where he lost his legs in Afghanistan, in order to express his gratitude.
In 2018, an elderly double amputee from China
was able to reach the peak of Mount Everest after trying for 40 years. Xia Boyu lost both his legs from below the knees due to frostbite during his first attempt in 1975 after selflessly offering his sleeping bag to a team member while being trapped near the summit for two days and three nights.
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