Double amputee Everest climber pledges to work for benefit of people with disabilities

Category: Human Interest


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. peak / pik / (n.) – the pointed top of a mountain or hill

    It took us about five hours of climbing before we reached the peak.

  2. gasp / gæsp / (v.) – to breathe with difficulty for more air

    He was gasping for air when they rescued him from drowning.

  3. perception / pərˈsɛp ʃən / (n.) – the way a person thinks about or understands someone/something

    The book is trying to change people’s perceptions of wealth.

  4. in a blink of an eye / ɪn ə blɪŋk ʌv ən aɪ / (idiom) – very quickly

    The life of the lottery winner changed in a blink of an eye.

  5. fulfilling / fʊlˈfɪl ɪŋ / (adj.) – providing satisfaction and happiness

    He’s always excited to work because he believes he has a fulfilling career.


Read the text below.

The first double above-the-knee amputee to climb Mount Everest returned from the mountain on May 23 pledging to dedicate the rest of his life to helping people with disabilities.

Hari Budha Magar, a former Gurkha soldier who lives in Britain, reached the peak of the world’s highest mountain.

“My main aim for the rest of my lifetime is going to be working to bring awareness about disability,” Magar said on his return to Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital.

Hundreds of supporters and officials, including Nepal’s tourism minister, greeted him at Kathmandu’s airport and offered him garlands.

“We all have our own weaknesses and disabilities, but instead of the weaknesses we should be focusing on our strengths, and only then we can all lead a better and meaningful life,” he said.

He said the climb up the 8,849-meter (29,032-foot) mountain was not easy and he thought several times about quitting because of his family.

“I had made the promise that I will have to return for the sake of my son,” he said.

On the way to the summit, he ran out of oxygen in the tank he was carrying.

“This was the first time I experienced what it is to be deprived of oxygen. I had the tingling sensation, my hands and feet were cold and I was gasping for breath,” he said.

After his successful climb, “I hugged all the Sherpas and cried like a baby, I was so happy,” Magar said in a video released by his press office. “My lifetime goal is to change the perceptions people have of disability. My life changed in a blink of an eye. But whatever happens, you can still lead a fulfilling life.”

“If a double above-knee amputee can climb Everest, you can climb whatever mountain you face, as long as you are disciplined, work hard and put everything into it,” he said.

In addition to dealing with his own disabilities, Magar also had to battle with legal issues because Nepal’s government had banned disabled people from climbing high mountains. A case was filed in the Supreme Court, which overturned the ban, allowing Magar to continue his plan to climb Everest.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Nepal’s government banned disabled people from climbing high mountains. What do you think of such a ban? Discuss.
  • Why do you think the Nepal government created the ban? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Magar said that his main aim for the rest of his lifetime is to be working to bring awareness about disability. If you could bring awareness to a certain issue or concern, what would it be? Why? Discuss.
  • Magar said that instead of the weaknesses, we should be focusing on our strengths. What strengths do you have that help you lead a better and more meaningful life? Discuss.