Dressed casually in shorts and sneakers, Mark Inglis smiled as he passionately described how mountaineering is a metaphor for life.
“You learn so much from mountaineering that can be applied to every aspect of life – focus, the ability to keep going on, the yearning to delve into new things,” said Inglis, 52, who lost both his legs to frostbite while on an expedition, but later went on to become the only double amputee in the world to climb Mount Everest.
As the founder of the charitable trust Limbs4all, Inglis - who hails from New Zealand - now travels the world and reaches out to thousands of disabled people from across the world.
A renowned motivational speaker, he was invited to the city to serve as a chief guest at the tenth annual Girimitra Sammelan, held at the Shanmukhananda Hall at Kings Circle on Sunday. The Girimitra Sammelan brings together various mountaineering clubs and enthusiasts from across the state to aid networking within the mountaineering community.
Captivating an auditorium filled with 2,700 climbers and trekkers, Inglis quoted poet TS Eliot, saying “Only those who risk going far can possibly find out how far they can go.”
He added, “It is important for the disabled to remember that anything is possible, but you have to work hard to achieve it.”
Showing remarkable resilience, Inglis said that he never dwells on his disability, and instead uses it to remind people that spirit can often overcome adversity.
When asked why he chose a dangerous sport such as mountain climbing, Inglis joked, “I got into mountaineering because I was terrible at rugby.” With eyes that twinkled, he continued, “As a youngster, I found it hard to sit and do nothing. I loved new challenges, and had a great teacher who was a mountaineer.”
While he is an avid traveller who has visited Nepal on numerous occasions, this is only his second visit to India. “I know that India and its people have a great passion for the mountains and I will spend a good part of this year in and around the country.”