Home Features I Conquered Mt. Everest: Not with My Feet, but with Unyielding Confidence
May 25, 2023

I Conquered Mt. Everest: Not with My Feet, but with Unyielding Confidence

  • Hari Budha Magar

I successfully climbed Mount Everest, setting a new record through sheer determination and personal strength. While it may seem like a solitary achievement, I want to acknowledge the support and assistance I received from numerous individuals who share the dream of conquering Everest. I owe a great debt of gratitude to the Sherpa guides and helpers, without whom this feat would not have been possible.

Currently, my family resides in the UK, and they have been a constant source of support throughout my journey. Additionally, I received encouragement from countless individuals in Nepal and around the world who reached out to me via phone calls and messages.

As Nepalis, we are renowned for Mount Everest, Buddha, and Gorkhali, and I hold a personal connection to all three. During my school years, I read about Mount Everest and became inspired by the stories of Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary’s historic ascent. I yearned to follow in their footsteps. However, I opted to join the British Army to pursue a career, and while serving in Afghanistan, I suffered injuries that resulted in the amputation of both my legs below the knees.

Following my injury, I entered a period of intense pain—both physically and mentally. I often found myself questioning my fate and karma, feeling that my life was essentially over. To cope with the pain, I turned to alcohol and spiraled into a year and a half of alcoholism. The dependency became so severe that my body would tremble without it. I must admit that I contemplated suicide numerous times. However, I couldn’t bear the thought of inflicting pain upon my family and children, preventing me from acting on those thoughts.

Eventually, despite my prolonged battle with alcoholism, I rediscovered the will to live. The love for my home, family, and children became my motivation. I redirected my focus toward sports and adventure activities, which brought about a transformative change in my life. I even traveled to Europe and America to participate in skiing.

During an adventure game, I became fixated on the image of Mount Everest, which I had studied in school. Witnessing other mountains around the world only heightened my desire to conquer Everest. I underwent mountaineering training and worked as a mountain instructor. Despite my disability, I became the first disabled athlete from Nepal to participate in skiing. Throughout my training, I reached Gosaikund, gaining invaluable experience at high altitudes and proving to myself that nothing is impossible with determination.

Climbing Mount Everest took an extensive amount of time. Initially, I planned to conquer the peak in 2018, but the government implemented a ban on individuals with visual impairment or missing limbs from attempting the climb. We challenged this ban in court, and it was eventually overturned. In 2019, I struggled to secure the necessary funds, and the plan was further delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this time, I succeeded.

Many people inquire about how I managed to climb Mount Everest without both legs. I tell them that I didn’t climb it with my feet but with my unyielding confidence.

Prior to Everest, I had already conquered other mountains such as Mont Blanc (4,810 meters), Chulu Far East (6059 meters), Kilimanjaro (5,895 meters), and Mera peak (6,476 meters). I also hold the record for being a ‘Double Amputee Above Knee’ to reach Everest Base Camp and skydiving over Everest.

On April 5th, we reached Mera peak while en route to Mount Everest. After summiting Mera Peak twice, we proceeded to the base camp of Mount Everest. Due to unfavorable weather conditions, we remained at the base camp for 18 days. Once the weather cleared, we advanced towards the second base camp. However, the weather did not cooperate at the second base camp, and I had to return to the first base camp. While I stayed behind, my friends continued their work and engagements. Finally, when the weather became favorable, we resumed our ascent of Mount Everest.

The journey to the summit of Mount Everest was incredibly challenging. Unfortunately, not all members of our group were able to reach the peak due to the adverse weather conditions. Regrettably, the dream of capturing numerous photos from the summit and witnessing the breathtaking view of the surrounding mountains remained unfulfilled.

Now that I have achieved this extraordinary feat, I am determined to spend the remainder of my life actively involved in social work. I will utilize my past achievements as a foundation to drive positive change. My goal is to empower others who may face similar challenges and lack opportunities but possess a passion for adventure.

I still carry the pain of losing my legs due to the war. The impact of the conflict on my life is something I can never forget. From the summit of Mount Everest, I extend my heartfelt wishes for peace to those individuals who are perpetuating unrest in the world.

Going forward, I have plans to establish a foundation focused on empowerment. Even if we can improve the life of just one person through this initiative, it will generate positive energy. I aim to support and encourage individuals who face disadvantages and possess a desire for adventure.

Though the pain of losing my legs remains with me, I am determined to transform my adversity into a force for good. I hope that my journey serves as an inspiration to others and encourages them to overcome their own obstacles.

(This article is based on the insights shared by Hari Bahadur Budha Magar at a press conference upon his recent return to Kathmandu after a remarkable achievement of successfully climbing Mount Everest with prosthetic legs)

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