On May 19th, Hari Budha Magar, a veteran British Gorkha, achieved a remarkable feat by successfully ascending Mount Everest. In doing so, he became the first person with above-the-knee double amputations to conquer the world’s highest peak.
Hari’s incredible climb serves as a powerful message to challenge societal perceptions about disability and to inspire individuals to overcome their own personal obstacles, regardless of the adversities they face.
Born and raised in the Nepalese mountains, Hari had harboured a childhood dream of conquering Everest. After serving 15 years as a Corporal with the Ghurkha Regiment of the British Army, he embarked on his journey to fulfil that dream.
Describing the achievement as unbelievable, Hari expressed his joy and gratitude to base camp officials upon reaching the summit. Despite experiencing exhaustion, a video captured at the base camp revealed Hari’s happiness and rejuvenation. He had been airlifted to Everest base camp by a rescue helicopter, guided by Khimlal Gautam, the head of liaison officers.
Hari’s successful ascent was made possible by a team of Nepalese climbers led by Expedition Leader Krish Thapa of HST Adventures. Thapa, who himself had served as a Mountain Troop Leader in the SAS during his 24-year British Forces career, shared a similar background with Hari, both having started as Gurkhas before serving in the SAS for 18 years.
In 2010, Hari tragically lost his legs while bravely fighting against Taliban forces in Afghanistan. Born in 1979 in the Rolpa district of Nepal, he had joined the British forces in 1999. Following his recovery from the life-altering blast, Hari delved into adventurous activities such as paragliding, skydiving, and mountaineering.
In 2017, Hari achieved another ground-breaking milestone by becoming the first double above-knee amputee to climb Mera Peak, reaching an elevation of 6,476 meters. Encouraged by this success, he harboured a deep desire to conquer Mount Everest. However, physically disabled individuals were initially barred from scaling the peak by the government.
Hari, along with other legal experts, challenged this decision at the Supreme Court. Eventually, the court ruled in favor of allowing all individuals, regardless of physical disabilities, to attempt the climb. Unfortunately, the expedition was further delayed due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Undeterred by the challenges, Hari made his attempt to stand atop Everest this year, and he accomplished his goal, proving his resilience and determination. His extraordinary achievement will undoubtedly serve as an inspiration for generations to come.