Ex-British Gurkha hopes Everest climb will change disability perceptions
By Gopal Sharma
KATHMANDU (Reuters) - Hari Budha Magar, the first above the knee double amputee to scale Mount Everest, said on Sunday that his ascent would raise awareness about disability.
Magar, 43, climbed the 8,848-metre (29,032-foot) Everest on artificial legs on Friday and is now taking rest at the base camp, said Pravat Adhikari of the Himalayan Ski Trek company that provided logistics for him.
“Gurkha veteran, Hari Budha Magar creates history … as the first ever double above-knee amputee to scale Mt Everest,” the Gurkha Brigade said in a twitter post.
Bigyan Koirala, an official with Nepal's Department of Tourism, confirmed that Magar had climbed the mountain with five Sherpa guides and that his ascent is “a world record”.
Magar, who joined the British army in 1999, lost both his legs after stepping on an improvised explosive device (IED) during a patrol duty in Afghanistan in 2010.
He said he had “suffered a lot” because of his disability and did not want other people to face the same pains.
“I hope my climb will help change the perception of persons with disabilities,” Magar told Reuters from the base camp by phone.
“I would like to encourage all people to take to climbing any mountain of their choice,” he said.
Magar went via the Southeast Ridge route, pioneered by Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953, which remains the most popular among climbers.
Mount Everest has been climbed by more than 11,000 people, including those with disabilities – like blindness and below the knee amputees.
Nepal has issued 478 permits to climb Everest during the current season that ends this month. Nine people have died on Everest this year.
Mountain climbing is a key source of income for cash strapped Nepal, home to eight of the world’s 14 highest mountains in the world.
(Reporting by Gopal Sharma; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)