31 May - 6 June 2013 #658

Scaling new heights

Sheela Pandey, Kantipur, 21 May

Sudarshan Gautam became the first person without both hands to climb Mt Everest, stepping on its summit at 9am on 20 May and being the first double hand amputee to climb the world’s highest mountain.

Since the last six years Gautam has been living in Canada, working as a motivator for disabled people and raising campaigns with the slogan – ‘Disability is not inability’.

In 1994 Gautam lost both his arms as he tried to get a kite unstuck from an electric pole using an iron rod. He slowly recovered and taught himself to cook, shower, shave, and dress . Before long, he had learnt how to ride a horse, and in 2001 he even learnt how to drive a car in Kathmandu.

In 2005, Gautam climbed the 5520m Yala Peak in Langtang without oxygen or prosthetic arms. It was then that he set his sights on Everest, only to realise this dream eight years later with the help of safety ropes and four climbing sherpas.

Gautam’s record previously belonged to American Thomas Whittaker, who made it to the world’s highest peak in 1998 with one prosthetic leg. Also in 2001, Erik Weihenmayer of the US was the first blind person to summit Everest. This year (read article) , India’s Arunima Sinha became the first woman amputee to climb Everest.

To read the original article click here

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