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Everest Summit push is on - and this guy is leading the pack!
image story

May 12, 2004 17: 32 EST
It’s not so rare to have a sherpa among the first teams to make the season's first summit push, but this guy is different. Check out the image to the left; Nawang Sherpa is climbing Everest South with a prosthetic leg.

Nawang and Tom McMillan are now making the big push. Early this morning they called in just after reaching Camp 2. They hope to make the summit on Saturday or Sunday to take advantage of the latest forecasts predicting good summit weather from Saturday into next week. Be sure to check back later today for a separate story on the weather.

Around the same time as Nawang some other teams are going to be making their summit pushes; Ted Atkins on Thursday, Mex/Can’s on Sunday and Swee on Monday. Linda McMillan, with the Base Camp team reports; “A couple of very strong expeditions are ahead of them, which will make the snow conditions easier for our team (if there is new snow, the first teams will break trail for the others).”

A motorcycle wreck in summer 2000 left Nawang Sherpa, an aspiring high-altitude guide in Nepal, an amputee. In 2001 he received his first prosthetic leg from UC San Francisco. He got a new "climbing leg" in 2002 thanks to the High Exposure foundation, a nonprofit launched by Ed Hommer, who lost his own legs on Denali and hoped to scale Everest one day together with Nawang. Climbing with a Peak Promotion group, Nawang easily climbed to C2 on Mount Everest. Ed's own Everest dream however ended in tragedy a few months later when a rock struck and killed him on Mount Rainier Sep 23, 2003. This year Tom McMillan, a California climber, stepped in to make Nawang's dream to scale Mount Everest a reality. Tom, Nawang and Peak Promotion are going for it this spring.

"It is not just about the enduring love of mountains and the formative challenges of climbing them. It is also friendship—beyond the borders of nations and cultures and capabilities. The Everest: Friendship Beyond Borders expedition will prove how people working together can tackle the toughest problems in the world. And it will help not only Nawang Sherpa, but other people throughout the world who are committed to rebuilding their lives and careers."

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