Amputee in second bid to scale Everest

KATHMANDU, APR 18: A former US Marine who lost his right leg and several fingers in an explosion in Afghanistan is making a second attempt to scale Mount Everest to inspire others like him, a year after an avalanche that killed 16 Sherpa guides stopped him at the base camp.

Former Staff Sgt Charlie Linville, 29, from Boise, Idaho, is using a specially designed metal foot outfitted with a climbing boot and another one with crampons in his quest to conquer the 8,850-metre summit next month.

“My message is anything is possible. It is just not me being an amputee, but anyone sitting on the couch around the world that has problems — you can overcome life, it is just how determined you are,” Linville said in Kathmandu today, on his way to Tibet in neighbouring China, from where he will set out on Everest.

He was an explosives expert serving in Afghanistan in 2011, when he went to investigate an explosion that wounded his colleague.

He was hit by another explosive device and seriously wounded, and two years later, had his right leg amputated below the knee. He retired from service and has been climbing since with The Heroes Project, a nonprofit organisation that helps wounded veterans. Everest would be his highest and toughest mountain that he has attempted to climb.

His quest last year was thwarted following the deaths of 16 Sherpa guides in April, the beginning of the climbing season, when an avalanche swept down.

At the time, Linville was at the base camp at 5,360 metres. This time, he plans to approach from the northern, Tibetan side, together with the Heroes Project’s founder Tim Wayne Medvetz and an eight-member team.

“The only difference between me and any climber on the mountain is that I am missing one limb and I have to deal with metal,” he said.