Monday, October 12, 2009

Video: Paraplegic climber summits Mt. Kilimanjaro

This is truly an amazing story. Late last month, Chris Waddell became the first paraplegic climber to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania - on his own power. This amazing athlete used a specially designed buggy that he peddled with his hands to pull himself up the 19,340-foot mountain, the highest in Africa.

The four-wheeled cycle Chris used, called a Bomba, is essentially a highly engineered four wheel mountain bike, capable of taking on one-foot-high boulders.

Obviously this wouldn't be an easy task for Chris. In fact, it took him three days and 22 hours of pedaling to push through the last three miles. The dense scree and sand at the top of the mountain - at roughly a 45 degree angle - made the going extremely difficult and slow. Chris said that he was moving about a foot a minute at one point.

On his One-Revolution blog site, Waddell said, "I felt like I’d made a statement that we as people could do whatever we wanted, but more profoundly, I saw the benefits of giving someone an opportunity."

Mr. Waddell broke his back in a freak skiing accident 21 years ago. Since then he has won 12 medals in downhill ski racing over the course of four Paralympic Games.

Here's some video from CBS News:

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Just last year, Darol Kubacz, a U.S. Army Veteran who lost the use of his lower body while serving on active duty, made it to 18,400 feet in his attempt to become the first paraplegic climber to reach the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

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