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Chinese Man Becomes First Visually Impaired Asian to Climb Mount Everest

Feature Image courtesy of Zhang Hong on Twitter
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The Chongqing native who is completely blind, scaled the highest mountain peak in the world in just three days!

A 46-year-old mountaineer named Zhang Hong, has become the first visually impaired person in Asia (and third in the world) to successfully reach the peak of Mount Everest from the Nepal side. Scaling the top on May 24, 2021, Zhang Hong managed the gruelling feat in only three days with the assistance of professional guides and Sherpas.

Image Credit: Twitter

“I summited Everest!” he proudly shared on Twitter shortly after completing the climb. “I would like to thank my family, my guides, the folks at Fokind Hospital, and @asiantrekking who have been extremely supportive of my journey.”

Zhang also revealed his elaborate plan to conquer the Seven Summits, which are the highest peaks of each of the world’s seven continents. Might be safe to say the rest may just be a cakewalk for him seeing how he fastidiously tackled the highest one already!

PROVING THAT VISION DOES NOT NEED SIGHT

Originating from the southwestern Chinese city of Chongqing, Zhang lost his vision due to glaucoma when he was 21. Becoming a source of inspiration to many, Zhang’s grit and determination in setting lofty goals for himself in spite of his disability proves to us that oftentimes the only limitations we face are in our own minds.

“No matter if you’re disabled or normal, whether you have lost your eyesight or you have no legs or hands, it doesn’t matter as long as you have a strong mind,” said Zhang during an interview with Reuters. “You can always complete a thing that other people say you can’t.”

Zhang himself was inspired by a fellow visually impaired mountaineer, an American named Erik Weihenmayer, who successfully scaled Everest back in 2001.

“Today I sit here and think about Eric, who inspired me to have such a dream and work all the way, and eventually I achieved it,” he said. “So, I would think there are so many other visually impaired people around the world and also in Asia, and I hope what I did can be an inspiration for them.”

After losing his vision, Zhang committed himself to training for his Seven Summits mission under his friend Qiang Zi, a mountain guide.

Zhang has also shared with the world his strenuous training exercises that included carrying 30-kilogram weighted bags up the stairs of the Tibetan hospital where he works as a masseur, and scaling other shorter peaks in China for practice before taking on Everest in May this year.

Image Credit: Twitter

Revealing about his climb:

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“I was still very scared, because I couldn’t see where I was walking, and I couldn’t find my centre of gravity, so sometimes I would fall,” said Zhang.

“But I kept thinking because even though it was hard, I had to face those difficulties, this is one component of climbing, there are difficulties and dangers and this is the meaning of climbing.”

Zhang’s victory was possible after the Nepalese government reopened their side of the mountain to foreign climbers earlier in 2021.

Perform the climb responsibly, Zhang and his entire team were vaccinated before commencing on their adventure, and also observed distancing measures by way of setting up separate mountain camps.




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