In 1975, Chinese climber Xia Boyu lost his feet after giving his sleeping bag to a sick teammate during a high-altitude storm on Mount Everest. In May, aged 69 and on his 5th attempt, Xia became the second double-amputee to scale Everest, and the first to reach the summit from the Nepalese side.
In the face of adversity, Xia has proven that his disability doesn’t influence his ability. Xia has won awards at China’s National Games for the Disabled in a range of events from shot put to wheelchair basketball. He survived cancer in 1996. In 2011, he won two golds at the Paraclimbing World Championships in Italy. He has also hiked across the Tengger Desert and the Gobi Desert, and scaled several peaks ranging as high as 26,246 feet.
Xia’s previous failed attempts to scale Everest weren’t down to his lack of ability. During Xia’s second expedition to Everest in 2014, climbing season was cancelled after an avalanche ripped down the western shoulder and killed 16 Sherpas. In 2015, a 7.8 earthquake devastated Nepal, triggering avalanches that killed 18 people on the mountain and destroyed Base Camp. On Xia’s fourth attempt in 2016, he got to 300 feet from the summit — but a sudden blizzard forced him to retreat. "Climbing Mount Everest is my dream," he said days before reaching the summit, “it also represents a personal challenge, a challenge of fate."