Saturday, May 21, 2022

Tom Whittaker makes it!!!

Ian Gregson

KATHMANDU, Nepal, May 27 — After years of trying, a 49-year-old American

man with an artificial leg reached the summit of Mount Everest on

Wednesday, becoming the first disabled climber to stand atop the world’s

highest mountain.

NEPAL’S TOURISM ministry said Tom Whittaker, a British-born

professor of adventure education at Prescott College in Arizona, reached

the highest point on earth, 29,028 feet above sea level, at 7 a.m. local


Whittaker, who lost his right kneecap and foot in a 1979 car

accident and wears an artificial leg fitted below the knee, made the ascent

on his third bid for the summit on this expedition.

On a previous bid on May 20, he was turned back at 27,000 feet after

being stricken by high-altitude pulmonary edema, a potentially

life-threatening lung ailment.

He was accompanied to the summit by four Nepalese sherpas — Lhakpa

Tsherinng, Da Sonam, Tashi Tshering and Norbu — and another American,

Jeffrey Rhoads, who had already accomplished the feat on May 20.

Rhoads, 43, is a photographer and mountain guide from Pocatello,


The men stayed at the top of the world for 20 minutes, the tourism

ministry said.

After losing his foot, Whittaker founded the Cooperative Wilderness

Handicapped Outdoor Group, known as C.W. HOG, a program that uses adventure

to help the disabled rebuild their esteem. In 1989, Newsweek magazine

honored him as one of “Americas Unsung Heros.”

Whittaker had made two previous attempts to reach the summit of

Everest, in 1989 and 1995.

In an interview with Reuters in March, Whittacker said he was

determined to be the first disabled person to climb Everest and show what

the disabled can accomplish.

He said that it takes him 30 to 35 percent more energy to climb

mountains than able-bodied people.

Whittaker scaled Everest by the standard Nepalese route via the

southeast ridge during Tuesday night. He had left his highest camp, at

26,000 feet at 11 p.m.

Whittaker had said he would be using an oxygen tank during the last

two days of his final push for the top.

Reuters contributed to this story.

Ian Gregson (mailto:[email protected])

Amputee WEB Site <> AMPUTATION Online Magazine

Moderator Amputee & D-Sport Listservs


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