“I am not disabled, I am just a double amputee,” says New Zealander Mark Inglis, who reached the summit of Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak, after 40 days of climbing in May 2006.
Many people have scaled Everest, but what makes Inglis’s feat exceptional is that both his legs were amputated because of a frost-bite while climbing Mount Cook in New Zealand in 1982, when he was 23.
He is the first ‘double amputee’ to reach the Everest’s summit. He trekked the Everest on a pair of prosthetic legs.
“The advantage of being a double amputee is that it takes me six hours to fix my leg in case of a fall, instead of six weeks like you guys,” he said.
He was addressing the 10th “Giri-Mitra Sammelan” (mountain-lovers’ meet) here on Sunday.
Inglis, who now runs an NGO called ‘Limbs 4 All,’ which facilitates artificial legs for those who cannot afford them, said he took to mountaineering when he was 11-years-old, “because I was not so good at rugby.”
Talking about how he lost his legs, he said: “In November 1982, I got stuck in an ice storm [on Mount Cook] and had to spend 13-and-half-days in an ice cave, which led to both the limbs getting amputated and my weight falling to 39 kg from 70 kg. We called that ice cave ‘hotel Middle Peak’ terrible room service, but a great check-out. We checked out in a helicopter!”
Inglis, wearing a pair of three-quarters showing his artificial limbs, spoke standing and occasionally moving around the stage. He got a standing ovation when he finished.