Conquering Mountains and Personal Challenges – Double Amputee Summits Everest
In the ultimate display of strength, courage and refusal to give up, double amputee summits Everest.
Almost 43 years after losing both of his feet scaling Mount Everest, Xia Boyu, a Chinese double amputee and avid climber has successfully conquered the world’s tallest mountain on his fifth attempt.
After overcoming tragedy and physical barriers, Xia has become the first amputee to successfully reach the summit of Everest from the Nepal side at the age of 70.
During his first attempt at climbing the 8,848-metre (29,029-foot) giant in 1975, Xia was part of a 20-man Chinese team. However, difficult and treacherous conditions meant that Xia donated his sleeping bag to a teammate that had fallen ill. This honourable sacrifice meant that he suffered from severe frost bite and as a result lost both of his feet.
Almost 20 years later, Xia was diagnosed with lymphoma, a form of blood cancer. Both of his legs were amputated below the knee during his battle with the disease. His dreams of reaching the summit of Everest were looking bleak.
By 2014, Xia felt ready to conquer the mountain using his prosthetic limbs.
He tried to climb Everest three more times after the disastrous attempt in 1975, but his gallant attempts were stunted due to ice avalanches and the earthquake that shook Nepal. In 2016, Xia was just 94m from the summit before he had to turn around due to bad weather.
Just as he was ready to give Everest one more attempt, his plans to reach the summit were almost crushed.
In December 2017, the Nepalese government announced that it was going to ban double amputees, as well as blind people and solo climbers, from trying to reach the summit in a bid to make the mountain safer.
However, despite the odds stacking up against him, in April 2018, Xia became the first double amputee to get a permit to climb Everest after the government performed a U-turn and revoked the ban.
It was reported in The Himalayan Times that Xia, at the age of 70, reached the summit on Monday morning at 7.30am local time. Xia became the first double amputee in the world to reach the top from Nepal side whilst Mark Inglis from New Zealand, who also lost both legs to frostbite, conquered Everest from China in 2006.
As a former Chinese national team climber, Xia spent years wearing advanced sport prosthetics during his training. In an interview with the Chinese media he shared the details of his rigorous training routine: “I strength train every morning at 5am. I do 1,500 10-kilogram squats, 100 pull-ups, 360 push-ups and 240 sit-ups.”
The advancements in prosthetic technology have ultimately allowed this courageous individual to conquer both his personal challenges and goals, and go where very few humans have – to the peak of one of the highest summits on Earth.