Legless man climbs on top of the world

Plenty of words were said about Paralympics, about those people who are doing their best to continue going in for sports after serious traumas. But what do you think about a man without legs who managed to reach the top of the Everest, the highest mountain in the world?

A middle-aged man from New Zealand painfully hauled himself up the last few feet to the summit of Mount Everest this week. Nothing so unusual in that - after all, climbing Everest has become so popular that its slopes are often crowded, and more than 100 people have scaled the mountain already this year - but Mark Inglis is different: he has no legs.

Mark Inglis, 47, reached the peak of the world's tallest mountain yesterday, phoning his wife Anne on the South Island to say he had made it and returned to his party's base camp.

Mount Everest is 29,035ft high and Inglis has spent a gruelling 40 days on the mountain.

Mrs Inglis said her husband had set out in his bid to reach the world's tallest peak on his prosthetic legs with an early morning start in perfect weather from Camp 4 - less than 1500ft below the summit.

The climber's legs were severed just below the knees after he suffered frostbite when he was trapped in an ice cave for two weeks by storms and blizzard conditions while climbing New Zealand's highest peak, Mount Cook, in 1982, according to scotsman.com.

During his climb, Inglis has been raising funds to provide artificial legs for disabled Tibetans who live under the shadow of Everest, and he made his own ascent on carbonfibre artificial legs specially adapted for climbing.

At one point, one of them snapped in a fall at 21,000 feet, and he had to carry out makeshift repairs on the mountainside before he could struggle back to his fellow climbers and rebuild it with spare parts.

He joins a small list of climbers who have overcome disabilities to conquer Everest, including a blind American and a Sherpa whose hands had been amputated and who used hooks to climb, The Independent reports.

Helen Clark, the New Zealand prime minister, said: "To reach the summit of Everest is a once in a lifetime achievement, but for Mark Inglis it will be even more satisfying. He has said it was a childhood dream to stand on the roof of the world, but he thought he had lost it when he lost his legs."

Miss Clark, a keen amateur climber, added that Mr Inglis had sent a signal to others with disabilities "that your ambitions should never be limited".

Mr Inglis was on the way down the mountain yesterday and hopes to be home early next week. He had his legs amputated below the knees due to frostbite, suffered in 1982 while he was trapped for 14 days by blizzards on Mt Cook, the highest peak in New Zealand, telegraph.co.uk says.

Source: agencies

Prepared by Alexander Timoshik

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Author`s name Angela Antonova