Nepalese man climbs the highest point in the world and becomes the third to do so with a prosthesis
Photo: EASTERN NEWS
The Nepalese Hari Budha Magar entered the history of mountaineering by conquering Everest with a prosthesis. According to The Guardian, Magar became the first person with an above-knee amputation to scale the highest point on Earth.
The amazing story of self-improvement began for Hari Budha Magar long before the promotion. The now world famous record holder was born in a stable in a remote village in Nepal. As a child, going barefoot to school, he dreamed of conquering an impregnable peak. At the age of 19, Magar joined the Gurkhas, Nepalese volunteers serving in the British Army, tempted by high salaries, which exceed even the salary of the Prime Minister of Nepal. In 2010, he was blew up by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan and lost both legs. Disabled after 15 years of service, the veteran, now living in England, became depressed, began abusing alcohol and made several suicide attempts.
That all changed when the charity Battle Back offered him a parachute jump. Based on the Gurkha motto “Better to die than be a coward”, Magar agreed, and after a successful landing, he took on a new intrepid creed “no legs, no hindrance”. His passion was sports, and then mountaineering. The man went back to his childhood dream and decided that he would change people’s perception of disability. Perking up, he even joked about the benefits of living without legs, like “no stinky socks” and “being able to lie on very small sofas.”
As the Nepalese prepared to conquer Everest, local authorities imposed a climbing ban on amputees, as well as the blind and the elderly, in order to reduce the number of deaths on the slope. Then Magar led the campaign against this decision, reaching the UN cabinets. Having obtained permission, the veteran reached the coveted peak as part of a group led by an experienced climber, by the way, also a former Gurka. Upon safely descending the mountain, he announced that he wanted to return to Afghanistan to the place where he lost his legs to say “thank you.”
Everest is not the first time that it attracts those who want to challenge their own destiny and prove that difficulties did not break them. According to the Himalayan database, 15 people with disabilities have reached the summit. Among them are two climbers with amputated legs. The pioneer in 2006 was the New Zealand climber and rescuer Mark Inglis. In 1982, he froze both legs while he was climbing Mount Cook, but he kept doing what he loved, becoming the first to conquer the highest point on Earth with prosthetics.
In 2018, the second climber without both legs to reach a height of 8,848m was Chinese Xia Boyu. He lost his legs in 1975, the first time he tried to conquer Everest. Then his group turned back due to bad weather just a couple of hundred meters from the summit. On the way back, Boyu gave his sleeping bag to a sick member of the group, and the next day he discovered that he couldn’t feel his legs. Since then, he unsuccessfully tried to conquer the summit three times, and only on the fifth attempt, already at the age of 69, did he achieve his long-awaited goal. In 2013, the first woman with a disability climbed Mount Everest. A resident of India, Arunima, lost her leg after thieves pushed her under a train, and with a prosthetic she climbed on top of it.
There are also true heroes among our compatriots. KP has already written about the brave Russian climber Rustam Nabiev. The former paratrooper lost both legs during the Omsk barracks collapse in 2015. Since then, Rustam has climbed Elbrus (5,642m) twice, climbed Mont Blanc (4,807m), Kilimanjaro (5,895m) and the eight-thousander Manaslu. of the Himalayas (8163 m). Already this year he conquered the highest point of the Andes-Aconcagua (6962 m). Nabiev and Everest are in the plans, but first, according to him, he needs to heal his wounds and be with his family. The uniqueness of Rustam’s feats is that he climbs to the highest points even without prosthetics, only thanks to the strength of his hands.