This month, Xia Boyu, the 69-year-old Chinese climber, made history when he became the first amputee to reach the peak of the world’s tallest mountain from the Nepal side. This climb was his fifth attempt and came 43 years after he lost both his feet climbing the mountain.
Mr. Xia first tried to scale the 29,029-foot mountain in 1975 but ended up losing both his feet after suffering from severe frost bite (he had given his sleeping bag to a sick teammate). Then twenty years later after being diagnosed with a form of blood cancer, his legs were amputated.
“Mr Xia tried another three times to climb Everest – with his last attempt in 2016 ending just 94m from the summit due to bad weather. His dream of reaching the peak appeared to have been shattered when the Kathmandu government announced in December that double amputees, along with blind people and solo climbers, would be banned from climbing the mountain.”1
But last month the government reversed their decision and he became the first double amputee to get a permit to climb. On May 14th at 7:30 a.m. local time, Xia reached the summit.
Mr. Xia is a former Chinese national team climber, who wears advanced sport prosthetics.2 He’s also in excellent shape thanks to his daily, early morning strength training routine of 1,500 10-kilogram squats, 100 pull-ups, 360 push-ups and 240 sit-ups.
New Zealander Mark Inglis, who is also a double amputee (he lost both legs to frostbite) conquered Everest in 2006 from the Chinese side.
Utterly amazing. Congratulations Mr. Xia.