Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Sherpa guides scale Everest to pave way for others climbers

Sherpa guides scale Everest to pave way for others climbers

Four decades after losing his feet to frostbite on Mount Everest, a Chinese double amputee has reached the summit at age 69, becoming the first person to conquer the world's highest peak without legs from the Nepal side.

This photograph taken on April 4, 2018 shows Chinese double amputee climber Xia Boyu, who lost both of his legs during first attempt to climb Everest, walking in Bhaktapur on the outskirts of Kathmandu, ahead of another attempt to climb the mountain.

Xia first attempted to summit Everest with a Chinese government-backed team in 1975, but was thwarted by bad weather.

"I know that I can succeed with new achievements only by overcoming difficulties", Xia was quoted as saying.

A government official at the base camp, Gyanendra Shrestha, said Xia Boyu was among more than 40 climbers who reached the summit on Monday because of favorable weather conditions on the mountain.

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.

Xia's dream of standing at the top of the world was almost thwarted by the Nepal government, which past year banned double amputee and blind climbers from summiting its mountains. Over the next few days, scores of climbers will head to the top of the 29,029-foot peak.

And on Monday, Xia finally achieved that dream.

An aerial view shows Mount Everest also known as the Sagarmatha on the border between Nepal and Tibet. Bloomberg
An aerial view shows Mount Everest also known as the Sagarmatha on the border between Nepal and Tibet. Bloomberg

"He reached the summit this morning, along with seven other members of his team", confirmed Dawa Futi Sherpa of Imagine Trek and Expedition.

During his attempt on the mountain in 2016 he got within 94 metres of the summit, but there was a sudden snowstorm. Steve Plain scaled Everest on Monday, completing the seven peaks in 117 days. "I have to realise it", he said.

He followed that with Mount Aconcagua in South America, Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, Mount Carstensz Pyramid in Papua New Guinea, which covers Australia and Oceania, Mount Elbrus in Europe and Denali in North America.

There were four other Chinese climbers who also summited: Liu Yi, Wu Jie, Lok Kee Siu, Ajie Hu, and Gao Li and Canadian Mikey Foreal. Santiago Quintero, who had half of each foot amputated during a climb in south America, also reached the peak in 2013.

Plain, 36, from Perth, climbed Mount Vinson in Antarctica on January 16.

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.

Xia had to mount a legal challenge to make an attempt on the summit this year.

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