A Gurkha soldier veteran who lost both legs in Afghanistan has achieved mountaineering history after reaching the top of Mount Everest.
Hari Budha Magar, who lives in Canterbury, Kent, reached the summit of the world’s tallest mountain at 3:00 pm on Friday, having started the climb on 17 April – exactly 13 years since he lost his legs after an IED explosion.
While waiting 18 days at the Everest base camp for the weather to clear, the veteran and his crew faced freezing conditions and saw two dead bodies being dragged down.
Speaking to the PA news agency from the Mount Everest base camp, he said: “All of my jackets were completely freezing. It was all frozen. Even our warm water, we put hot water in the Thermos, and that was also frozen and we were not able to drink.”
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He continued: “When I came down we ran out of oxygen. The guys came up with 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.”
However, the poor weather meant his sunglasses and oxygen mask were frozen over and he was only able to spend a few minutes at the top of the mountain.
Throughout the challenge, he was supported by a team of Nepalese climbers, led by Krish Thapa, also a former Gurkha and SAS mountain troop leader. Budha Magar became the first double above-the-knee amputee to summit the world’s tallest mountain.