Double Amputee Makes History with Mount Everest Climb: ‘Cried Like a Baby, I Was So Happy’
Hari Budha Magar made history as the first double above-the-knee amputee to reach the top of the mountain
A climber has made history for becoming the first double above-the-knee amputee to ever summit Mount Everest.
Hari Budha Magar, who lost both legs above the knee after stepping on an improvised explosive device while serving in Afghanistan more than a decade ago, achieved the feat last week in Nepal, according to the Associated Press.
The former soldier who now lives in the United Kingdom began climbing the mountain on April 17, according to The Guardian. At one point, he had to wait 18 days for the weather to clear, but finally reached the top, along with his crew and sherpas, on Friday.
“I hugged all the sherpas and cried like a baby, I was so happy,” Magar said in a video released by his press office, according to the AP.
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The climb to the top was not without drama.
“All of my jackets were completely freezing,” Magar told the PA news agency, according to The Guardian. “It was all frozen. Even our warm water, we put hot water in the thermos, and that was also frozen and we were not able to drink.”
He added, “When I came down we ran out of oxygen. The guys came up with oxygen … I was bumping down on my bum and we had 30, 40 minutes of oxygen, and we still had about two, three hours to get down.”
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Magar said he first thought about climbing Everest while walking to school one day without any shoes on, he told The Guardian.
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It was a plan that almost didn’t come true: Nepalese officials banned those with disabilities from climbing the mountain in a move to reduce the number of fatalities on the mountain, per the AP. When the ban was overturned following a court case, Magar was free to chase his long-held goal, according to the news agency.
Now, after his accomplishment, he’s hoping to inspire others.
“My lifetime goal is to change the perceptions people have of disability,” he said, per the AP. “My life changed in a blink of an eye. But whatever happens, you can still lead a fulfilling life.”
“If a double above-knee amputee can climb Everest, you can climb whatever mountain you face, as long as you are disciplined, work hard and put everything into it,” he added.
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