Double amputee climbs Everest


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.

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

In 1975, Xia Boyu lost his feet after giving his sleeping bag to a sick teammate during a high-altitude storm. During his previous attempts in 2014, 2015 and 2016, Xia's unsuccessful tries were scuffled by a series of natural disasters, including an avalanche, a 7.8-magnitude quake and a blizzard that forced him to turn back just 300 feet from the summit, according to reports.

Speaking from the summit this week, Xia was quoted by the People's Daily telling a friend he had been preparing for the moment for 43 years. However, three months later, Nepal's high court overturned the ban citing discrimination against disabled people.

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. "It also represents a personal challenge, a challenge of fate", Xia told AFP last month before heading to the mountain.

And in 2016, he nearly had a successful climb and had only 200 metres left when a treacherous blizzard forced him to turn back.

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

Most Everest hopefuls are escorted by a Nepali guide, which means that about 700 climbers will tread the same path to the top of the peak in the coming weeks.

Xia Boyu, a 70-year-old double-amputee from China, was part of the first commercial squad of climbers to reach the summit of Everest on Sunday. A year later, Nepal suffered an 8.1 magnitude natural disaster. Xia, his fellow team members and the Sherpas supporting them summited the mountain early in the morning, according to Imagine Trek and Expedition, the group leading the effort. "I have to realise it", he said. Meanwhile a team deployed to fix ropes from Everest's north in Tibet reached the summit on Monday, said the Himalayan Database, which monitors climbers.

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

In the 117 days that followed he summited Mount Aconcagua in South America (6,961m), Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa (5,895m), Puncak Jaya (4,884m) in Papua province, Indonesia, Mount Elbrus in Europe (5,642m) and Denali in North America (6,190m).

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