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with Stefan Nestler

Double amputee from China tackles Everest

Xia Boyu

The decision of the Supreme Court of Nepal to overrule the government’s new Everest rules has cleared the way for him: the double amputee Xia Boyu from China will tackle the highest mountain on earth this spring from the Nepalese south side. “Yes, we got his permit”, Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, head and expedition leader of the Nepalese operator “Imagine Trek and Expedition” writes to me. As reported, the Supreme Court in Kathmandu had rejected in early March the government’s new rule not to issue permits to double-amputee climbers and blind people as discriminating. Mingma Gyalje had shaken his head at the government’s decision: “There are a lot of disabled climbers who are more capable than non-disabled.”

Sleeping bag given to teammate

Xia on the Everest south side

For the 69-year-old Xia Boyu it is already the fifth attempt on Everest. At his first try in 1975, his team had got into bad weather about 250 meters below the summit. The Chinese climbers had to spend two days and three nights at an altitude of 8,600 meters at temperatures of minus 25 degrees Celsius. The following night, at 7,600 meters, Xia left his sleeping bag to a teammate who had got into serious trouble. He paid his selflessness with severe frostbite, both legs had to be amputated.

Narrowly failed in 2016

Later, he also fell ill with lymph node cancer. But Xia did not give up his hope of reaching the top of Everest. He began climbing again with prostheses – and returned to Everest in 2014. Because of the avalanche disaster in Khumbu Icefall killing 16 climbers Xia had to return home then empty handed, as well as in 2015 after the devastating earthquake in Nepal. In spring 2016, Xia failed due to bad weather about 100 meters below the summit. “If I was alone, due to my old age and the forty years I had fought for my dream, I might go up without considering the consequence”, said Xia Boyu in an interview with “But when I looked back, five Sherpas were looking at me. They have families. So I decided to retreat.”

Hari Budha Magar to Everest only in 2019

The double-leg amputee Hari Budha Magar had actually also planned to climb Everest this spring. However, the Nepalese postponed his plan for one year because of the new expedition rules in his home country. The 38-year-old had lost both legs above the knee as a soldier of the British Gurkha Regiment in a bomb blast in Afghanistan in 2010.


31. March 2018 | 21:46