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Chinese Double Amputee Climbs Mount Everest

A 70-year-old Chinese mountaineer who lost both legs to frostbite while attempting to climb Mount Everest four decades ago has successfully climbed the mountain in his fifth attempt.

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Everest. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

A 70-year-old Chinese mountaineer who lost both legs to frostbite while attempting to climb Mount Everest four decades ago has successfully climbed the mountain in his fifth attempt.

Xia Boyu, 70, reached the top of the world’s highest peak at 8.40 a.m. on Monday, becoming the first double leg amputee to accomplish the feat from the Nepal side, said Tourism Ministry official Gyanendra Shrestha from Everest Base Camp, the Kathmandu Post reported on Tuesday.

More than 50 other climbers also succeeded in scaling the summit, said the official.

The same day Steve Plain, an Australian, also reached the Everest, setting a speed record for climbing the highest mountain on each of the world’s seven continents.

Xia was part of a 20-man Chinese Everest expedition mission that tried to scale the 8,848 metre peak in 1975. However, about 200 metre from the top the climbers were forced to turn back due to high-altitude storms.

That time Xia suffered severe frostbite and lost both his legs. He returned to Mount Everest in 2014, but an avalanche killed 16 Nepali high-altitude guides that time, forcing the expedition to call off its summit bid.

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Accurate Map of China, Pixabay

He was back in 2015, but again the climbing season was abandoned when a powerful earthquake struck Nepal on April 25, killing 20 on the Everest.

Xia made his last attempt in 2016 but bad weather forced him to turn back. His dream was nearly shattered after the government amended the Mountaineering Expedition Regulation in December, prohibiting double amputees, persons without arms and legs and blind persons from attempting to climb mountains in Nepal.

However, disability advocacy groups filed a petition in the Supreme Court, arguing that the government had violated the rights of differently-abled people and the UN convention on the rights of people with disabilities.

Subsequently, the court overruled the controversial government ban in March, allowing Xia to fulfil his four-decade-old dream.

Xia was quoted by the People’s Daily telling a friend earlier this week that he had been preparing for the moment for 43 years.

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“It’s not been easy for me to reach the peak of Mount Everest which I’ve dreamed of.”

He is the second double amputee to climb the Everest after New Zealander Mark Inglis, who reached the peak from the Tibetan side in 2006, the Guardian reported.

Santiago Quintero, who had half of each foot amputated during a climb in south America, also reached the peak in 2013. (IANS)

Next Story

NatGeo to Set up Weather Stations on Mount Everest

Examination of rock, lake sediment, snow, firn, and ice samples for biological evidence, including eDNA, will add to understanding of the range of life that can survive in extreme environments

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This photograph taken from a helicopter shows an aerial view of Mount Everest in Nepal's Solukhumbu district, some 140 kilometers (87 miles) northeast of Kathmandu, on Nov. 22, 2018. VOA

The National Geographic Society will set up automatic weather stations on Mount Everest as part of its multi-year, partnered initiative to increase understanding of extreme environmental conditions, the media reported on Friday.

According to Nepal government officials involved in issuing permits for the scientific research, NatGeo has been permitted to install five automatic weather stations at different elevations along the climbing route and on the “roof of the world”, reports The Himalayan Times.

It has also been issued permits for on-site meteorological experiments.

Bishnu Prasad Shrestha, Under-Secretary at the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, said the NatGeo team had already left for the Everest expedition to carry out research on weather, atmospheric conditions and changing climate by placing weather stations in the high altitude areas to gather data for the improvement of large-scale climate and weather models.

“As per their plan, satellite-link technology will share near-real-time information about conditions on the mountain with scientists, regional managers and climbers,” he added.

Mount Everest. Wikimedia

According to NatGeo’s research plan seen by this daily, it is going to carry out a broad scientific assessment of – and expedition to – Mt Everest and the Solukhumbu region, working closely with Nepali partners.

The expedition will collect samples for scientific research on current and historical climate patterns. It will use remotely sensed images to improve mapping of the glacial extent to better understand changing environmental conditions.

To understand the complexities of a high-mountain environment, the team will collect ice core, surface snow and water samples at regular intervals along the climbing route and at or near the summit.

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NatGeo has also partnered with the Department of Geology and the Department of Botany of Tribhuvan University to study the aspects of extremophiles and biology, Prof Bhupa Prasad Dhamala, executive director at the varsity’s Centre for International Relations, said.

“Examination of rock, lake sediment, snow, firn, and ice samples for biological evidence, including eDNA, will add to understanding of the range of life that can survive in extreme environments.” (IANS)