69-year-old double amputee climbs Everest after decades-long mission

By Sara Shayanian  |  May 14, 2018 at 2:11 PM
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May 14 (UPI) -- A 69-year-old Chinese man reached the top of Mount Everest Monday, on his fifth try -- decades after a prior attempt forced doctors to amputate both his legs.

Xia Boyu was guided by Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, a veteran mountaineer who's successfully climbed the world's 14 highest mountains, and joined by 11 others.

Xia's son said his father had finally realized his "40 years dream" by reaching the top of the world's highest peak early Monday.

"I love the mountain," Xia told TIME magazine before the climb, "I will fight for it my entire life."

"Boyu finally won his 40-year-long battle for Mount Everest," the sherpa said Monday.

Xia lost both legs below the knee when he was 25, after a failed attempt in the mid-1980s resulted in severe frostbite.

In December, Nepal banned solo climbers, double amputees and blind people from scaling its mountains.

Hari Budha Magar, a former Royal Gurkha Rifles soldier and a double amputee, said the law violated the United Nations convention. Nepal's Supreme Court put the ban under temporary review, opening a window for Xia to make his fifth attempt.

More than 500 climbers, including 378 expedition members and 38 attempts, plan to make final summit pushes on Mount Everest this year.

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