Blind Climber reaches Everest Summit

A 46 year old blind Chinese climber has this morning reached the summit of Everest.

His team, Asian Trekking revealed the news on 24th May:

“Eco Everest member and Sichuan Acme expedition climber, Zhang Hong, a 46-year-old visually impaired Chinese climber has become the first blind person from Asia to scale the world’s tallest peak Mt. Everest at 9 am – 24th May , 2021 along with 3 High Altitude Guides”

1. Lhakpa Sherpa
2. Dawa Wongchu Sherpa
3. Samden Bhote

“Asian trekking family congratulates the team for their success and pray for their safe return to base camp.”

They followed up that announcement with a more in-depth description of Zhang and his story.

“ZHANG Hong becomes first blind Chinese man to scale Mount Everest.

“On Monday 24th May at 9.30 am (Kathmandu time) 46-year-old ZHANG Hong (张洪) became the first blind Chinese mountaineer, to have climbed Mt. Everest (8849 m) on his first attempt with the assistance of his mountain guide QIANG Zi (强子) and three Sherpas ; Lhakpa Sherpa, Dawa
Wongchu Sherpa, and Samden Bhote.

“ZHANG Hong is the third blind person to have climbed Mt. Everest after American Erik Weihenmayer (in 2001) and Austrian Andy Holzer (in 2017).

“In my life, though I’m blind, I felt I could face any challenge. When I’m in the mountain, though I still can’t see, I’m in awe of nature. Overcoming the death zone and the summit, makes me want to embrace and be a humble part of mother nature” was ZHANG Hong’s first reaction after reaching the Roof of the World.

“Born in 1976 near Chongqing in a farmer’s family, ZHANG Hong had to take care of his father and uncle who lost their sight due to glaucoma. Missing China’s college entrance exam he had no choice but to start working as a migrant worker during the 90s. At 21-year-old ZHANG Hong also became blind and had to switch to the low-income position of blind masseur at Tibet Fokind Hospital.

“After hearing the story of Erik Weihenmayer, the first blind person to have ever climbed Mt. Everest, ZHANG Hong decided to prepare to climb the mountain. He has been trained for many years, under the guidance of his friend and mountain guide QIANG Zi. In 2020 COVID-19 stopped them reaching for the summit, but the Nepalese government reopened the area for climbers for the 2021 season.

“Before going to Nepal in early April 2021 ZHANG Hong and his team got vaccinated in China then followed a 14 days quarantine in Kathmandu. They reached Everest’s base camp in early April 2021, before India’s new wave of COVID-19.

“ZHANG Hong and his team have then followed for weeks a rigorous training process before tempting to reach the summit. Their last PCR test was conducted at Everest’s base camp just before they leaft for the summit and was negative.

“I would like to thank my family, my guide, the folks at Fokind Hospital, and Asian Trekking who have been extremely supportive of my journey. “This is only the beginning as I would like to climb the Seven Summits” said ZHANG Hong over the radio after coming back to the safety of Camp 4 at 8000m high altitude near the death zone. His journey is currently being followed by Chinese filmmaker FAN Lixin (2009 Emmy Award for LAST TRAIN HOME) and his story will reach the cinemas in early 2022.

PRESS CONTACT: Aladin Farré /aladin@inhope.net

ZHANG Hong will be available for phone interviews starting Tuesday the 25th of May and remote video interview on Wednesday the 26th of May.