Himalaya Spring 2018: Double Amputee to Attempt Everest, Teams in the Khumbu

Xia Boyu

The spring climbing season is slowly but surely getting underway in the Himalaya. Droves of climbers are now arriving in Kathmandu and preparing to head out to various mountains across Nepal and Tibet. And while there isn’t a whole lot of news to share just yet, things are ramping up nicely and reports on the season ahead are beginning to trickle in.

Take for example this story from The Himalayan Times about a double-amputee climber from China who is preparing for his fifth attempt on Everest this year. 69-year old Xia Boyu will attempt the world’s highest peak from the South Side in Nepal, after the Supreme Court of that county struck down controversial new rules regarding disabled climbers. That has freed up Xia to make his attempt this spring.

The Chinese man first attempted Everest way back in 1975 when his team reached a point 250 meters (820 feet) below the summit where poor weather halted their climb. They were stuck there for three nights before they could head down. When they did, Xia loaned his sleeping bag to a teammate who has taken ill and needed assistance, but in doing so he contracted frostbite in his legs that resulted in the double amputation. Since then, he has attempted Everest on three other occasions, with his expeditions in 2014 and 2015 being cancelled due to the collapse of the icefall and the earthquake. In 2016, he reached 100 meters (328 feet) beneath the summit before poor weather once again turned him back.

Meanwhile, the article also indicates that another double amputee that we’ve been following closely – Hari Budha Magar – will now make his attempt on Everest in the spring of 2019 instead. Magar had been set to climb this season, but Nepal’s new rules through off his schedule, so he’s now forced to wait until next year instead.

Elsewhere, other expedition teams are now en route to Everest Base Camp, including the Adventure Consultants who made their flight to Lukla today and will now begin the trek to EBC. They should probably reach Everest sometime next week, although they’ll get occasional views on the trail while en route. Similarly, IMG has two groups in the Khumbu who are currently acclimatizing in the Khumbu Valley but should reach Base Camp in a few days too, while 79-year old Carlos Soria is on his way to Dhaulagiri in search of his 13th 8000-meter peak.

As you can see, things are about to get very interesting. We’ll likely see more teams arriving in the days ahead, and we’re just on the verge of the season kicking into high gear. Plenty more news and updates to follow soon. Stay tuned.

Kraig Becker

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