Published On: Mon, May 22nd, 2023
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Amazing double amputee who lost both legs in Afghanistan makes history climbing Everest | World | News

A double amputee who lost both his legs in Afghanistan has made mountaineering history after becoming the first double above-the-knee amputee to summit Mount Everest. Hari Budha Magar, 43, summited the world’s highest peak on May 19.

Mr Budha Magar, who lives in Canterbury, arrived at Everest on April 17, exactly 13 years to the day since his legs were destroyed by an IED in Afghanistan in 2010.  

Despite arriving on time, his climb to the top was delayed by poor weather, forcing him to spend 18 days at base camp.

Even when it was clear to ascend the mountain, there were constant reminders of the danger that faced him as he witnessed two dead bodies being taken down the famous peak.

Despite the dangers, he made it to Everest’s summit and spent the few minutes each climber is allowed at the world’s highest point.

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He said: “All my jackets were completely freezing. It was all frozen. Even our warm water, we put hot water in the thermos, and that was also frozen, and we were not able to drink.”

Although he reached Everest’s summit, danger awaited him and his team as they descended when their oxygen ran out.

He said: “When I came down, we ran out of oxygen. The guys came up with oxygen…I was bumping down on my bum and we had 30, 40 minutes of oxygen, and we still had about two, three hours to get down.”

Mr Budha Magar said his Everest ambitions didn’t begin with his accident; he said his relationship with the mountain began when he was just a boy when he was walking to school barefoot.

He subsequently left Nepal and served as a corporal with the Ghurka regiment in the British army before the life-changing injury which he said left him thinking that his life was “completely finished”.

He said: “I grew up in Nepal, up to the age of 19, and I saw how the disabled people were treated in those remote villages.

“Many people still think that disability is a sin of a previous life and you are the burden of the earth. I believed this myself because that is what I saw. That is how I grew up.

“It was a pretty hard time and at one point I was just drinking too much, to just control my pain and emotions and all the things, and I tried to kill myself a couple of times.”

Despite his struggles, Mr Budha Magar said he got his confidence back after discovering climbing and quitting drinking. He was part of a campaign to remove the ban on disabled and blind people from climbing Everest.

To complete the feat, a difficult challenge for even able-bodied climbers, he used specially designed prosthetic legs that he describes as his “spider legs”.

He said: “When I climb, I use different legs and we have installed heating socks to make it warm so that I don’t lose any more limbs because I can’t afford to lose more. I just climb one step at a time.”

Mr Budha Magar now wants to return to Afghanistan to the place where he lost his legs to say thank you. He said: “Without (losing my legs), I wouldn’t be climbing Everest, so it wouldn’t even count much. Whatever happens, it happens for good.”

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