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

16 May 2018

Years later, he has become the second double-amputee to scale Everest, the first from the Nepalese side.

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

Mr Xia first tried to scale the 8,848-metre (29,029-foot) mountain in 1975, but he lost both feet when he suffered severe frost bite after giving his sleeping bag to a sick teammate. But, Xia received permission in March this year when the government overturned the decision by calling it "discriminatory" toward people with disabilities. Xia planned to return past year, but the Nepal Ministry of Tourism announced that it planned to ban double amputees from Everest.

Still, shortly before heading back to Everest base camp last month for a fifth try, he told AFP that nothing had changed for him. 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.

In 2006, Mark Joseph Inglis of New Zealand became the first double-leg amputee to climb Everest from the Chinese side, summiting the peak after 40 days of climbing.

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And in 2016, he nearly had a successful climb and had only 200 metres left when a treacherous blizzard forced him to turn back.

A climber who lost both legs to frostbite on Everest four decades ago has finally reached the summit. Another climb the following year was aborted after the Nepal natural disaster.

And on Monday, Xia finally achieved that dream. "I have to realise it", he said. Xia, his fellow team members and the Sherpas supporting them summited the mountain early in the morning, according to Imagine Trek and Expedition, the group leading the effort.

BC-AS-Nepal-Everest, 2nd Ld-Writethru, 337Australian climbs 7 peaks in 7 continents in record timeAP Photo BKWS110Eds: Updates with more than 40 climbers including a double-amputee scaling Everest.

Meanwhile a team which deployed to fix ropes from Everest's north in Tibet reached the summit on Monday, said the Himalayan Database which monitors climbers.

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Plain, 36, from Perth, climbed Mount Vinson in Antarctica on January 16.

The six other highest peaks are Denali (North America), Elbrus (Europe), Vinson (Antarctica), Aconcagua (South America), Kilimanjaro (Africa) and Papua New Guinea's Carstensz Pyramid (Australasia/Oceania).

"Three and a half years ago I was lying in hospital with a broken neck and at that time set myself the goal", he wrote on Facebook after reaching the summit. Steve Plain scaled Everest on Monday, completing the seven peaks in 117 days.

Xia had to mount a legal challenge to make an attempt on the summit this year.

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