Chinese climber, 69, crippled on Everest, finally scales peak

Xia Boyu had both lower legs amputated after getting frostbite on the mountain in 1975, but never gave up his dream of scaling the world’s highest peak

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 May, 2018, 2:06pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 May, 2018, 11:08pm

A 69-year-old Chinese man, who had both lower legs amputated through frostbite after trying to climb Mount Everest over 40 years ago, has finally successfully scaled the world’s highest peak.

Xia Boyu reached the summit on Monday – his fifth attempt at climbing the mountain.

Xia was severely injured during a Chinese climbing expedition on Mount Everest in 1975.

His team had to turn back about 200 metres below the summit in a storm.

A Tibetan teammate lost his sleeping bag and Xia, who was confident of his ability to resist the cold, lent him his. He woke the next day suffering from severe frostbite in his legs and had to ride down parts of the lower reaches of the mountain on a yak.

Xia announced on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, that he had successfully scaled the mountain on Monday.

“It’s not been easy for me to reach the peak of Mount Everest which I’ve dreamed of. I’ve been preparing for this for 43 years,” the People’s Daily quoted him as telling a friend by phone as he stood on the summit, his voice trembling.

Chinese climber, 69, crippled on Everest, still dreams of conquering peak

Xia was told by a foreign doctor after his legs were amputated that he could live a normal life by using artificial limbs and might even climb mountains again.

Xia started regular exercise by climbing a small peak in the suburbs of Beijing and hiking long distances.

However, he was hit by further bad fortune when he was diagnosed with lymph cancer in 1996, the report said. He overcame the illness and continued to train.

“I know that I can succeed with new achievements only by overcoming difficulties,” Xia was quoted as saying. “I never give up.”

Further efforts to achieve his dream of scaling Everest ended in failure.

His attempt in 2014 was hampered by avalanches. A year later, Nepal suffered an 8.1 magnitude earthquake.

He told Chinese state television the same year: “I don’t want to feel any regrets in my life. I will go to Mount Everest next year. This is my goal, which I’ve always tried my best to achieve.”

During his attempt on the mountain in 2016 he got within 94 metres of the summit, but there was a sudden snowstorm. Xia had to make the hard decision not to push on to safeguard his team’s safety, the newspaper report said.

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Xia had to mount a legal challenge to make an attempt on the summit this year. The Nepalese authorities issued regulations banning blind people or those with both legs amputated from climbing the mountain.

Xia’s lawsuit was successful and in March Nepal’s Supreme Court decided to suspend the ban, the report said.

The climber updated his social media account on Monday evening to say he was now descending the mountain in bad weather.

His son, Xia Dengping, has arrived at Everest base camp without informing his father, to give him a surprise welcome, the People’s Daily reported.