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Double amputee sets record in Everest summit

16 May, 2018, 11:41 | Author: Lucille Rivera
  • Double amputee Chinese climber scales Mt Everest

Xia is the first double amputee to scale Mt Everest from the Nepal side and second person without legs to climb world's highest peak. "It's not been easy for me to reach the peak of Mount Everest which I've dreamed of", he said.

A 69-year-old Chinese climber has conquered Mount Everest on his fifth attempt after losing his feet on the mountain more than 40 years ago.

Speaking from the summit this week, Xia was quoted by the People's Daily telling a friend he had been preparing for the moment for 43 years.

Nepalese authorities moved previous year to ban double amputees - along with blind and solo climbers - from attempting to reach the summit.

As NPR's Lauren Frayer reported at the time, the new regulations were intended "to keep people safe and also to create jobs for local guides and Sherpas" - but those rules were tossed just months later by Nepal's high court for discriminating against people with disabilities.

In December 2017 Nepal banned solo, visually-impaired and double amputee climbers from attempting its mountains - including Everest - to reduce accidents.

To Xia, reaching the summit "represents a personal challenge, a challenge of fate", he told Japan Times in April.

Most Everest hopefuls are escorted by a Nepali guide, meaning about 700 climbers will tread the same path to the top of the 8,848 metre (29,030 foot) peak in the coming weeks.

The Australian began his quest to break the record just four years after a swimming accident left him with a broken back
The Australian began his quest to break the record just four years after a swimming accident left him with a broken back

Steve Plain also took advantage of the first day possible to reach the summit, setting his four-month speed record for the seven continents.

And in 2016, he nearly had a successful climb and had only 200 metres left when a treacherous blizzard forced him to turn back.

Mark Joseph Inglis of New Zealand was the first double leg amputee to summit the peak, who scaled the mountain from the Chinese side in 2006.

And on Monday, Xia finally achieved that dream. A year later, Nepal suffered an 8.1 magnitude natural disaster.

"He reached the summit this morning, along with seven other members of his team", confirmed Dawa Futi Sherpa of Imagine Trek and Expedition. "I have to realise it", he said. "Plain took almost seven hours to reach the summit point from Camp IV on Mt Everest", he said.

The six other highest peaks are Denali (North America), Elbrus (Europe), Vinson (Antarctica), Aconcagua (South America), Kilimanjaro (Africa) and Papua New Guinea's Carstensz Pyramid (Australasia/Oceania).

Climbers try to minimise the time they spend in the aptly named Death Zone, an area above 8,000m on Everest where there is less than a third of the oxygen found at sea level.

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