Our reporter Liu Yao
On the 7900-meter snow slope of Mount Everest, a blizzard swept across the sky.
The young guide suddenly discovered that one of the screws on Xia Boyu's prosthesis had been lost.
"In the snow-covered field, a small white screw is difficult for ordinary people to see. If it is not discovered in time, the prosthesis will soon fall off..." Recalling the scene of the successful summit of Mount Everest more than two years ago, The 71-year-old legless mountaineer Xia Boyu first thought of the screw that was lost and recovered.
For more than 40 years, he was finally "accepted" by Mount Everest
In May 2018, that was the fifth time in Xia Boyu's life that he "rushed to the top".
In 1975, 24-year-old Xia Boyu followed the Chinese mountaineering team to undertake the first task of accurately measuring the height of Mount Everest.
During the descent, his feet were frozen to death and forced to amputate his feet because he gave his sleeping bag to his teammates.
Lying on the hospital bed, Xia Boyu's tears rolled after hearing the news that the 9 team members had successfully reached the summit.
When it was gloomy, a word made him rekindle hope-a foreign expert who came to China to impart experience saw Xia Boyu's situation and said that if he was fitted with a prosthesis, he could not only live like a normal person, but also climb mountains.
"At that time, how I wished to hear such a sound." Xia Boyu said, "When I put on my prosthesis and stood up for the first time, I decided to go mountain climbing."
No matter how high the mountain is, it is not as high as a climber; no matter how dangerous the road is, the brave heart cannot be blocked.
Can't climb Mount Everest without feet?
Xia Boyu did not believe in fate or evil.
A pair of prostheses and an ambition are his most important support for the summit of Mount Everest.
Mountain climbing with a prosthesis is more difficult than imagined.
Because there is no ankle joint, you can only walk on the "toes" of the prosthesis when you go up the mountain. It is easy to slip and fall; the prosthesis has no feeling and can only react when it is passed to the waist... Compared with ordinary climbers, the same climbing distance, Xia Boyu It takes twice or more time.
For this reason, Xia Boyu has been training day after day for decades: starting at 5 o'clock in the morning, after completing an hour and a half of sit-ups, back-flies, and pull-ups, then go to the Xiangshan Mountain or perform a 10 km fast On foot, it is still the same today.
In more than 40 years, Xia Boyu has climbed Mount Everest several times.
Avalanches, earthquakes, blizzards... He has often passed by the god of death, and regrettably missed Mount Everest.
In 2014, he encountered an avalanche at the Everest Base Camp; in 2015, he encountered a magnitude 8.1 earthquake in Nepal when he assaulted the summit; in 2016, he encountered a storm when he was less than 100 meters from the summit, for the safety of the Sherpa guides Give up the summit...
In the past few years, he always comforted his family "this is the last time" before going hiking.
Finally, during the fifth summit, in Xia Boyu's own words, Everest "accepted" him.
Inspire the younger generation to fight for their dreams
"Climbing the summit in 2018 was the most dangerous and difficult time in so many years. We started from the Everest base camp and we encountered strong winds, thunder and lightning." Xia Boyu recalled.
"Because I have been taking hemolytic drugs, once there is a wound on the body, the blood will not stop." In addition to the thrilling screw, the thrombus on the leg also made Xia Boyyu walk more slowly and more carefully every step of the climb.
An even greater challenge appeared after the summit rushing-before the blizzard had time to enjoy the joy of climbing to the top, a blizzard suddenly arrived, and there was whiteness around him.
I definitely can't go down this time, Xia Boyu thought.
"But when talking on the mountain, I promised my lover that I would go home safely." Xia Boyu said.
So he pulled the rope descending from the top of the mountain, gritted his teeth, and moved down step by step.
The long time of climbing made his legs swell, the prosthesis could only be inserted halfway, and he could easily fall off when he moved.
"At that time, I really didn't dare to lift my legs, so I slowly rubbed down along the snow surface. From a height of 7,900 meters, most people walked for four or five hours at most, but I walked for more than ten hours." Xia Boyu said .
After successfully climbing Mount Everest, Xia Boyu's life story infected and encouraged more people.
In 2019, at the Lawrence World Sports Awards Ceremony, Xia Boyu won the Best Sports Moment of the Year Award for his unremitting climbing process.
In Xia Boyu's home, there is a corner full of trophies and souvenirs, recording and witnessing his glory and busyness.
China Men's Basketball, Women's Basketball National Team, China Track and Field Team, Beijing Guoan Football Team...Many sports teams have invited Xia Boyu to share his personal experiences and encourage the younger generation of sports people to keep fighting for their dreams.
"For me, mountaineering is a goal and a dream. The attention of so many people has really disrupted my life, but if my mountaineering experience can give you some enlightenment or reference, then I will be very pleased." Xia Boyu said .
When communicating with mountaineering enthusiasts, there are always many young people coming up to ask Xia Boyu about mountaineering.
"Some people say that you are 70 years old and you can climb Mount Everest without your feet. Then I will have no problem. I will advise them that climbing is not that simple."
"I used to be a mountaineer, and I have never stopped exercising for so many years. Mountaineering must be prepared physically, mentally and financially." Xia Boyu said.
Waiting for the next departure
Conquering Everest and continuing to climb is not the end of the story of "The Old Man and the Mountain".
Last year, Xia Boyu returned to Mount Everest Reserve and Mount Everest Base Camp, but he was no longer a climber.
There, he and volunteers collected garbage, promoted environmental protection, and encouraged more people to polish the sky and protect Mount Everest.
In two days, more than 100 people joined Xia Boyu's team.
During the epidemic, China and Nepal suspended all expeditions on the north and south sections of Mount Everest.
In May 2020, at the Spring Mountaineering Garbage Cleaning and Recycling Ceremony held at the Everest Base Camp, a total of 3,786 kilograms of mountaineering garbage was removed from the three mountains above 8,000 meters above sea level.
"When I climbed Mount Everest a few years ago, I found that there was some rubbish along the way. Mount Everest will always be there, and more and more people will climb it. We can’t leave a'trash mountain' for later generations, but for climbers. Create a clean environment." Xia Boyu said.
Whenever he went to Lhasa, Xia Boyu would also go to the museum to see the "Chinese Ladder" he built by himself. When he climbed Mount Everest in 1975, he and his teammates fought for nearly a day, at the "second step" at 8,700 meters from the north slope of Mount Everest. A metal ladder with a height of nearly 6 meters was erected on the rock wall, which cleared the most difficult hurdle of climbing.
Since then, the moat has become a thoroughfare.
In 2008, the "Chinese Ladder" officially "retired" during the torch relay of the Beijing Olympics and settled in the Mount Everest Mountaineering Museum in Lhasa.
During the 33 years from 1975 to 2008, the "China Ladder" helped and witnessed more than 1,300 climbers from various countries conquering Mount Everest.
"Seeing the'Chinese Ladder' always makes me deeply moved." Xia Boyu said.
In 2019, the release of the movie "The Climber" let more people know the story of "China Ladder".
Every time he talks about his climbing experience in 1975 and the "Chinese Ladder", Xia Boyu always has tears in his eyes.
From the first accurate measurement of the height of Mount Everest in 1975 to the latest elevation data of 88.886 meters in 2020, Chinese climbers and surveying and mapping workers continue to refresh the height of human understanding of the world.
As an experiencer and witness of history, Xia Boyu is also particularly impressed.
"The scientific and technological content of Mount Everest measurement is getting higher and higher. The 5G signal has reached the base camp of Mount Everest, and the Beidou system accurately navigates...The height of Mount Everest is the issue, our country has the most say." Xia Boyu said.
After conquering Mount Everest, Xia Boyu did not intend to stop climbing.
He set a new goal for himself-to climb the highest peaks of the seven continents and hike the North and South poles.
Although the epidemic has delayed the plan, he is still preparing and waiting for the next departure.