A Soldier Who Lost Both Legs Just Climbed Mount Everest
Hari Budha Magar, a Gurkha soldier veteran residing in Canterbury, Kent, made history in the world of mountaineering as he reached the summit of Mount Everest.
A Cold Treacherous Hike
It was on the exact 13th year since he lost his legs after an IED explosion in Afghanistan that he began the climb on April 17th and finally conquered the tallest peak at 3 pm on Friday.
The climb to the top was a perilous one, as they encountered severe cold weather, saw two lifeless bodies being pulled down, and had to wait for 18 days at the Everest base camp for clear skies.
In a conversation with PA news agency from the base camp of Mount Everest, Magar spoke about the challenges he faced during the expedition.
He said, "All my jackets were frozen. Even our hot water froze, and we couldn't drink it."
On the way down, they ran out of oxygen, and Magar was only able to move down by sitting and sliding on his bum, which was painful.
Pushing Through The Hardships
They had 30-40 minutes of oxygen left, but still had a long way to reach the base camp. Moreover, poor weather conditions meant that Magar's sunglasses and oxygen mask were frozen over, which only gave him a few moments at the top of the mountain.
Budha Magar's journey to become the first double above-the-knee amputee to summit Mount Everest was made possible with the support of a team of Nepalese climbers, led by Krish Thapa, a former Gurkha and SAS mountain troop leader.
His triumph is a testament to his perseverance and resilience after feeling like his life was over when he lost his lower legs in Afghanistan and struggled with alcoholism and depression.
Growing Up In Nepal
Having grown up in Nepal, Budha witnessed the discrimination against disabled individuals in remote villages and internalized the belief that disability was a punishment from a past life. He fell into a dark place and resorted to alcohol to cope with the pain and emotional turmoil, even attempting suicide.
Despite his hardships, he never lost his dream of climbing Everest, having first thought about it as a student. However, double amputees and blind people were prohibited from climbing in 2018, as authorities sought to decrease the number of fatalities on the mountain.
Budha's successful summit proves that nothing can hold back a determined individual who is supported by a committed team.
Accomplishing His Goals
Budha Magar, a veteran who served as a corporal with the Ghurka regiment in the British army before his injury, was instrumental in campaigning to lift the ban on climbing Everest.
He wanted to attempt to summit the peak, which he finally accomplished after losing both his legs. After descending the mountain, Budha looks forward to reuniting with his family and expressing his gratitude by returning to Afghanistan, the site where he lost his legs.
He firmly believes that everything happens for a reason and that losing his legs has enabled him to achieve the impossible.