Double-Amputee Finally Climbs Mount Everest on Fifth Attempt

Chinese mountaineer lost both legs in first summit try and vows to never return to the mountain.

This photograph taken on April 4, 2018 shows Chinese double amputee climber Xia Boyu, who lost both of his legs during first attempt to climb Everest, during an interview with AFP at Bhaktapur on the outskirts of Kathmandu, ahead of another attempt to climb the mountain. (PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty Images

Xia Boyu, a double-amputee who lost both his legs below the knee due to frostbite on his first Everest attempt, has successfully summited the mountain. Back in 1975, during that first attempt, the 69-year-old gave his sleeping bag to a fellow climber struggling with hypothermia. But a German doctor said he could climb again using artificial limbs, which launched the next stage of Xia’s mission to reach Everest’s 8,848m summit.

“Everest, for me, I hate it. Because it took away my legs,” Xia said to Time. “I failed to conquer it four times over the past 40 years. But because of my perseverance and effort, Everest eventually accepted me.”

While work in an administrative position as the Chinese Mountaineering Association, Xia kept up a brutal training routine in a bid to reach the highest peak in the world. Before reaching the top on May 14, 2018, he tried three other times: bad weather and an earthquake prevented him from making it.

Now that he has conquered his greatest goal, Xia feels “released from his lifetime burden,” and is ready to look ahead.

“First, I need a long rest,” he told Time. “I haven’t decided the next goal I’m going to conquer.”

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