Disability Is Not An Inability

Yuliia Vereta

� Copyright 2019 by Yuliia Vereta

Photo of Mt. Everest


Being disabled should not mean being disqualified

From having access to every aspect of life.

Emma Thompson

The only disability in life is a bad attitude.

Scott Hamilton

When Sudarshan Gautam told the people at the Everest base camp that he was planning to climb to the top of the highest mountain in the world, people laughed at him. Who in their right mind would go to this inhospitable mountain, the highest peak of the planet, without both arms? Indeed, it seemed incredible. Even the friends of Gautama did not believe that his dream was possible. However, at the end of May 2013, a few days before the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the first conquest of Everest, the impossible happened - Sudarshan Gautam stood at the top of the world.

Sudarshan Gautam is a Nepalese-born Canadian, who, despite the absence of both arms, managed to climb the mount Everest. He became the first man without arms and arm prostheses to climb highest peak of the planet.

Sudarshan was born in 1978 in a small village Bhauduri in the Ramechhap District of Nepal. When he was a child, his family moved to Kathmandu, soon after they moved happened an accident that deprived the boy of both arms. At the age of 14 Sudarshan was playing with the kite, which got tangled in the high-voltage wires. He decided to release it and his attempt resulted with the eleven-thousand-volt electric shock that led to the amputation of both arms.

When Gautam woke up in a hospital in Nepal and found out that both his arms had been amputated, he promised himself that this amputation would not be an obstacle on his way to the big mountains.

"After I lost both hands, I wanted to do something good for society and something good for the country, and I thought: if I want to climb Everest, I will do it," Gautam said in Vancouver after returning from the Everest.

Since the time of amputation Gautam got used to the life without arms. After some time he started using feet instead of his arms � because of this he goes barefoot. Over the years, Sudarshan has mastered all the necessary skills � he learned to eat, shave, write and even drive a motorcycle and a car with his feet.

However, the young Nepalese wanted more � he literally dreamed of mountains and refused to believe that the kite accident that happened to him in his childhood cut off for him the opportunity to climb the mountains. Later he moved to live in Canada, but constantly visited Nepal.

He started training, and in 2005, Gautam has climbed his first peaks �Mount Yala (5,732 m) and Mount Ramdung (5,925 m). However, Everest always remained Sudarshan's dream.

The dream became the goal when his ascent sponsors have allocated several thousands of dollars for the implementation of his plan. After the financial problem was resolved, Gautama, who at that time lived in Calgary (Canada), returned to Nepal, the country he left in 2007, and began his ascent on the 1st of May 2013.

Then he finally joined the group that was going to climb the highest mountain in the world. When Sudarshan's group was already at the base camp, climbers from other groups shrugged their shoulders � what did a man without arms do here? And when they were told about the daring plan of Sudarshan, many of them began to openly laugh.

The most difficult moment of my ascent was when I reached the Everest Base camp, where most people were skeptical about my idea, constantly telling me that I would not be able to climb the Everest. I remember these people, and I remember what I said to myself then: "I will not give up. I must go up!� - said Gautam telling people his story after he managed to climb the peak.

However, the dream came true � on the 20th of May, Sudarshan Gautam, drunk with happiness, stood at the top of the Everest. He became the first man without arms, who managed to climb this mountain. The Everest has seen many records and amazing manifestations of the human spirit, but the one made by Sudarshan Gautam will be never forgotten.

Sudarshan himself admits that he deliberately ascended without arm prostheses � he wanted to show people by his own example that the thing was not about his arms at all, but about the human nature and spirit that can drive people to do everything, sometimes even those things that the majority of people may find impossible.

'The most important thing is that I speak openly about my disability,' says Gautam. � �People can lose an arm or a leg at any time, we do not know what can happen in the future. Therefore, you just need to be strong, never be disappointed in yourself'.

For his record ascent Sudarshan had to train seriously. He was helped a lot by his friends-climbers, and during these trainings he climbed the vertical walls of buildings. It should be said that it is incredibly difficult to believe that this persistent young man has no arms � he performs tricks that an ordinary man is hardly able to perform with both arms.

'If we want to do something � disability is not a hindrance,' - says Sudarshan.

With his personal motto, "Disability is not an inability", he had reached the many more peaks.

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