A Chinese man identified as Zhang Hong has climbed the tallest peak in the world from the Nepal side, becoming the first blind man in Asia and the third in the world to scale Mount Everest.
“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,” Zhang told Reuters.
The 46-year-old man completed the 8,849 metre-high Himalayan feat on May 24 along with 3 high altitude guides, and returned to the base camp on Thursday.
Zhang, who was born in southwestern Chinese city of Chongqing, lost his sight at the age of 21 due to glaucoma.
He was inspired by Erik Weihenmayer, a blind U.S. mountaineer who climbed Mount Everest in 2001, and started training under the guidance of his mountain guide friend Qiang Zi.
Nepal reopened Everest in April for foreigners after it was closed last year over COVID-19 concerns.
“I was still very scared, because I couldn’t see where I was walking, and I couldn’t find my center 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.”