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Against all odds, scaling the Everest with sheer willpower

Swapna Mohanty | Updated on: 1 January 2018, 17:58 IST

In a bid to reduce accidents  the Nepal government has banned solo, visually impaired and double amputee climbers from attempting mountains, including the world's highest peak Mount Everest . This has come as a big disappointment to many daredevil climbers with physical deformities  who are raring to go and prove it to the world that they can do it despite  odds. Catch News spoke to Gurkha veteran Hari Budha Magar, who is pushing all his limits to scale the Everest and create a record of becoming the first above-the-knee double amputee to conquer the world's highest peak.

Hari Budha Magar, who hails from Nepal and who lost both his legs in an explosion while serving with the British Army in Afghanistan in 2010, has never let his disability come in between his dream.  Ever since he met with the accident, he has left no stone unturned to test his ability and willpower! He  became a skydiver in UK and Cyprus,  re-learned alpine skiing, won a gold medal in Archery at the U.S. Endeavor Games, re-learned rock climbing, became an avid cyclist and is  aiming  his childhood dream of scaling the Everest.

Sharing his disappointment on the decision of the Nepal government, of not allowing double amputee climbers from attempting mountains, he said, “For people like me, this is a setback and I had never expected this from the government whom I have been trying to make proud all over the world. This  is discrimination against disabled people and also a violation of   human rights.”

However, this isn’t going to discourage Magar.   “This isn't going to splinter my willpower .Rather I would push my limit even more. For me expedition is not just for disabled people but for people who want to achieve their dreams. Life is all about adaptation whether physical, mental, different situation or time. If you can adapt your life you can achieve your dreams. Nothing is impossible.”

Asked if he would still climb the Everest, he said, “Yes, I am training for 18-months now and would do whatever I can to make the climb happen. Along with 18 fellow Sherpas I would make this happen. I will be starting my expedition on March 1, 2018. ”

When asked what keeps him going and gives him energy, he said that inspiring people around the world that nothing is impossible, designing new crampons, designing heated sockets and of course, creating a record keep him following his dream. Besides, finding better safety and rescue system on the mountain and helping science and technology to research, develop and invent prosthetic legs give him a lot of motivation and strength.

He is well aware of the difficulties he would face while making the climb. “Conventional wisdom says that only the strongest and most determined can master ambulatory control with two prostheses and I have managed to do it. This was a bigger challenge than scaling the Everest. And for climbing I believe that capacity lies in mind, not in the  leg.”

And to know the technicalities and exertion of changing feet or legs in a harsh climate where breathing is difficult, he is training on Mt. Rainier (Highest mountain of the Cascade Range of the Pacific Northwest) and Mt. Blanc (Highest mountain in the Alps).

 Magar  is fully aware of the risk that he is taking. “I am aware that I might lose other  body parts too or wind up in a wheelchair the rest of my life or even not return. But one thing that keeps me ignited is that I can achieve my dream with right attitude and team."
First published: 1 January 2018, 17:58 IST