A 69-year-old Chinese double amputee reached the summit of Mount Everest on Monday.
Double amputee conquers Everest, the mountain that took his legs
It was Xia Boyu’s fifth attempt to climb the world’s highest mountain, and his first success.
This makes him the second double amputee to scale Everest, and the first to do so from the Nepalese side.
Check out our video of Xia before his ascent:
Xia’s, whose legs were amputated more than four decades ago, set foot on the peak of the 29,029-foot mountain peak at 8:26 am, he announced on Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter.
“It has been 43 years – it wasn’t easy! I've finally reached the top of Mount Everest, just like I dreamed,” he said in a call to a friend while standing on the peak, state-run newspaper People’s Daily reported.
Xia is a former member of the Chinese national mountain climbing team. In 1975, his team had made it 28,000 feet up Everest when they were forced to turn back due to bad weather.
When a sick teammate lost his sleeping bag, Xia gave his up instead. When Xia woke the next day, his legs were seriously frostbitten and his feet had to be amputated.
Just days later, nine members of his climbing team successfully made it up the mountain.
His dream was rekindled when a foreign doctor told him he could be equipped with artificial legs – and possibly even scale mountains again.
Despite a 1996 cancer diagnosis that meant both legs had to be amputated below the knee, Xia never gave up trying.
In 2016, he was forced to turn back just 300 feet from the summit, when the weather turned against him once again.
Xia’s victory has been hard-fought against nature and bureaucracy alike: earlier in the year he successfully challenged the Nepalese government to overturn a ban on amputee climbers.
The climber’s son has arrived at the base at the mountain to give him a surprise welcome, the People’s Daily reports.