Climbing and reaching the summit, or the top, of Mt. Everest is an amazing accomplishment, but when a 69-year-old double amputee makes the climb, it is truly incredible! Chinese national Xia Boyu reached the world’s highest peak, from the Nepal side, on Monday morning according to his son Cloud Xia who posted it on WeChat.
Cloud announced, ” My dad has realized his 40-year dream!” Xia had both of his legs amputated below the knee because of frostbite, which he suffered on his first Everest expedition when he was 25. He attempted four more times, but it wasn’t until this fifth expedition that he achieved success.
One of the hindrances was that in December 2017, the Nepal government tried to improve safety and prevent overcrowding on Mt. Everest by banning disabled, blind, youth under 16, and solo climbers. But, this was contested, and the Supreme Court revoked the ban, placing it on review. This action allowed Xia to make his climb.
His guide was Mingma G. Sherpa on this climb. Sherpa has climbed to the tops of the 14 highest mountains on the globe, so with his successes, he led Xia to the top of Everest. This success of Xia’s, with his disabilities, creates a new perspective on the ban that the Nepalese government wants. The Himalayan Times reports that over 500 expeditions have already started up Everest.
Xia attempted Everest in 2014, 2015, and 2016, but there were setbacks. In 2014, there was an avalanche, which cancelled the season; in 2015, a 7.8 earthquake shook Nepal; and in 2016, a blizzard forced Xia to retreat when he was within 300 feet of the summit.
FYI – In 2006, Mark Inglis from New Zealand was the first double amputee to ever summit Mt. Everest; in 2017, American Jeff Glasbrenner, as a single amputee, reached the top, and in 2018.