A New Zealand mountain climber, who lost both his legs to frostbite, has become the first double amputee to conquer Mount Everest. Mark Inglis, 47, called his wife, Anne, to tell her he was standing on the summit of the 8,850 metre peak, the world’s highest mountain.
“He’s dreamed of this all his life, probably. He’s over the moon,” Inglis’s wife said. One of Inglis’s carbon-fibre legs snapped while climbing at around 6,400 metres and was forced to repair it with spare parts.
In 1982, Inglis lost both his legs from below the knees due to severe frostbite suffered after a blizzard trapped him and a fellow party member in a cave in New Zealand’s Mount Cook for 14 days.
New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark hailed Inglis’s climb. “To reach the summit of Everest is a once-in-a-lifetime achievement for any climber, but for Mark Inglis it will be even more satisfying,” she said in a statement.
She said her husband — who is a Paralympics cycling silver medallist — achieved what he did through determination. New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers to conquer Mount Everest in 1953.