25 May 2024

No legs, no limits: Double above-knee amputee conquers Mt Everest

Hari Budha Magar has become the world’s  first double above-knee amputee to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

Former British Gurkha veteran, 43-year old Hari created history when he conquered world’s highest 8,849-metre Mt. Everest peak on 19 May around 3pm (Nepal time).

He climbed the tallest mountain via the South Col route from Nepal, weaving his way through treacherous Khumbu Ice Fall,and wall of ice, Lhotse Face. He made his final push to summit from South Col that took him via South Summit and the famous Hillary Step.

Standing victorious atop the world’s tallest mountain, he shouted “We did it!”, a reference to, and in recognition of, the team effort that enabled this success. News was first broken on his his Twitter and Instragram handles. Photos from the summit are yet to be received.

Hari Magar (courtesy/Twitter)

Speaking over a satellite phone call from the peak, he commented; “That was tough. Harder than I could have ever imagined. We just had to carry on and push for the top, no matter how much it hurt or how long it took. If I can climb to the top of the world then anyone, regardless of their disability, can achieve their dream. No matter how big your dreams, no matter how challenging your disability, with the right mindset anything is possible”.

Thirteen years after losing both his legs above the knee in Afghanistan, Hari has proved disability is no barrier as he was determined to change perceptions of what is possible for people with a disability,

In 2010, he was at that time deployed by British Army in Afghanistan when he stepped on a IED and lost his legs in split seconds and his life changed for forever. 

Two below-the-knee amputees have reached the peak in the past—New Zealander Mark Inglis in 2006 and China’s Xia Boyu in 2018.

Hari’s team of climbers was led by expedition leader Krishna Thapa, a former chief mountain instructor at the SAS and world-renowned climber. Rest of the team consisted of UK and US veterans alongwith experienced sherpas.

Hari uses shortened prosthetics & specially-designed suit/grips

After years of rehabilitation and training, he promoted his dream objective to conquer Mount Everest on his website under the slogan “no legs, no limits”.

Originally from Nepal, Hari Magar currently resides in Canterbury (UK) and climbs wearing a specially designed suit and grips attached to shortened prosthetics, with silicon liners under his thighs to prevent frostbite.

Hari who is raising money for 5 charities, thanked his family, supporters and sponsors, for making this possible.

“When things got really tough it was the thought of my amazing family and everyone who’s helped me get onto the mountain that pushed me to the top. Without the support of so many this expedition simply wouldn’t have been possible.”

Mera Peak (6,476m) was the highest mountain he had climbed so far, and was again the first ever double above-knee amputee to achieve this. He was also the first to skydive out of a helicopter over Mount Everest.

Hari Budha Magar

The journey was not easy for Hari, with the Nepal Government banning people with disabilities from climbing. But Hari fought and won the case at Supreme Court which overturned the rule. This opened the door for him to continue his efforts to achieve what no one else in the world had achieved earlier.

Eldest of three siblings, Hari grew up in foothills of Himalayas in Nepal and his life started in a remote village of Mirul. He joined the army to fulfil his father’s dream.

The Afghanistan incident shattered his life and he lost his confidence.

“I thought my life is finished, I will need a carer for rest my life. I turned into alcoholic to control my pain and emotion. I tried to kill myself but I didn’t want to live my family behind so I promised myself to live. Then I started trying sports and adventures that’s what gave my confidence back,” he said in an interview published in 2020.

He did not let his later life disability stop his childhood dream of climbing Mt Everest.

After a physically and mentally challenging journey toward self-acceptance, Hari found the determination to challenge the stigma around disability and inspire others to do the same.

“After getting my confidence back and finding out that ‘Life is all about adaptation and Nothing is Impossible,’ I made the decision to climb the Everest. ” he said.

“Anything is possible with adaptation, and I hope that my climb changes perceptions people may have about the capability of people with disabilities and also inspires others to climb their own mountain, whatever that might be.”  

Hari Magar never intended to break the record, he climbed to challenge himself and to inspire others.

“It’s super important for making awareness of disability and human endeavour , (and) the climb is to change perception on disable people… show what can be achieved with positive mindset and determination…(and) show Nothing is Impossible.”   

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