Hari Budha Magar, a former soldier who lost both legs above the knee in Afghanistan, has successfully conquered Mount Everest, becoming the first double above-the-knee amputee to do so. Magar started his ascent on April 17th, and after an 18-day weather delay finally reached the summit on May 19th. "I hugged all the sherpas and cried like a baby, I was so happy," Magar recalls.
However, the climb wasn't without its intense moments: icy conditions left his jackets and thermos frozen, making it impossible to drink. And the descent proved equally challenging, with Magar recounting, "When I came down we ran out of 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.”
This journey has been a dream for Magar since he was a child and almost didn't come true due to a now-overturned ban by Nepalese officials on climbers with disabilities. Magar hopes his achievement will change the way society views disability, saying, “If a double above-knee amputee can climb Everest, you can climb whatever mountain you face, as long as you are disciplined, work hard and put everything into it.”