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Lost legs to frostbite, 70-yr-old Chinese finally scales Mt Everest

16 May 2018

Xia first attempted to scale Mt Everest with a Chinese government-backed team in 1975 at the age of 25, but was thwarted by bad weather. The Chinese climber had been in his mid-20s, serving in an expedition that came close to the peak before it unraveled under the force of high-altitude storms.

As a result, he needed to have his feet amputated.

Plain's achievement also features a story of overcoming physical challenge, coming four years after he broke his neck in a surfing accident.

"Climbing Mount Everest is my dream", he said then.

A Chinese mountaineer who lost both legs to frostbite while attempting to climb Everest four decades ago finally fulfilled his dream on Monday.

His attempt in 2014 was hampered by avalanches. Another climb the following year was aborted after the Nepal natural disaster.

And in 2016, he nearly had a successful climb and had only 200 metres left when a treacherous blizzard forced him to turn back. The first record of double amputee on Everest is held by Mark Inglish from New Zealand.

Three months later, however, Nepal's high court overturned the ban on double amputee and blind climbers, agreeing that it discriminated against disabled people.

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A month before his fifth attempt, Xia told Agence France-Presse that climbing Everest was his dream. "I have to realise it", he said.

To Xia, reaching the summit "represents a personal challenge, a challenge of fate", he told Japan Times in April.

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.

A group of eight Nepalese Sherpa guides reached the summit on Sunday, fixing ropes and clearing paths for other climbers to begin their ascent to the peak.

Plain, 36, from Perth, climbed Mount Vinson in Antarctica on January 16. He began January 16 with Mount Vinson in Antarctica, followed by Mount Aconcagua in South America, Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, Mount Carstensz Pyramid in Papua New Guinea, which covers Australia and Oceania, Mount Elbrus in Europe and Denali in North America.

Climbers try to minimise the time they spend in the aptly named Death Zone, an area above 8,000m on Everest where there is less than a third of the oxygen found at sea level.

"He has set the record of climbing Seven Summits in the shortest time of 117 days", said Ishwari Paudel, an official of the Himalayan Guides hiking company that handled logistics for the climber.

Xia and Plain are among 500 climbers from 38 teams attempting to reach the summit this season.

Lost legs to frostbite, 70-yr-old Chinese finally scales Mt Everest