A 69-Year-Old Double Amputee Has Just Climbed Mount Everest
16 May, 2018, 11:42
Xia lost both legs below the knee when he was 25, after a failed attempt in the mid-1980s resulted in severe frostbite.
Now aged 69, he became the second double amputee to scale Everest - and the first ever from the Nepalese side. The decision, which originally was meant to cut the number of deaths on the mountain, was reversed in March by the Nepalese Supreme Court, citing discrimination against disabled climbers.
Plain's achievement also features a story of overcoming physical challenge, coming four years after he broke his neck in a surfing accident. For two days and three nights the team endured subzero temperatures, made worse for Xia, who chose to lend his sleeping bag to a fellow climber who had fallen ill.
Xia lost his feet to frostbite during that ill-fated effort.
His legs were amputated nearly 20 years later after he was diagnosed with a form of blood cancer.
Despite his injuries, he never abandoned the notion of reaching the summit.
Xia's success story will surely help a number of mountaineers, who aspire to climb the Everest but fail to do so owing to physical ailments. "I have to realise it", he said. "It also represents a personal challenge, a challenge of fate", Xia told AFP, a month before heading to the mountain. In 2016, a blizzard forced him to return while he was 200 feet away from the summit. He has already climbed six other highest peaks - Denali (North America), Elbrus (Europe), Vinson (Antarctica), Aconcagua (South America), Kilimanjaro (Africa) and Papua New Guinea's Carstensz Pyramid (Australasia). There are only about a couple of days of windows of good weather on the highest part of the peak in May, when climbers rush to attempt their way to the summit.
Climber Xia Boyu who lost both legs to frostbite on Everest four decades ago has finally reached the summit. Pic PRAKASH MATHEMA AFP Getty Images
The authorities said the new rules were a safety measure but they were struck down by the courts earlier this year as discriminatory.
Kathmandu - Everest's summit season got off to a frantic start on Monday with at least 30 climbers reaching the peak, including a Chinese double amputee and an Australian who set a world record.
Xia's successful expedition comes a day after eight rope-fixing team members reached the summit, making the climbing route open for other climbers for 2018 spring season.
Some 340 foreign climbers and many Nepalese Sherpa guides are attempting to climb Everest this month.
He beat the previous speed record by nine days and was presented with an award at the peak. He suffered a broken neck or "hangman's fracture" and said doctors had told him they were not sure if he would ever walk again.
"My Dad reached Everest at 8:26Nepal time!".
Plain has also been using his record attempt to raise money for charities the Surf Life Saving Association and SpinalCure Australia - two groups he has close associations with after his own injuries.