Parasports August 26, 2021
Amputee mountaineer Chitrasen Sahu conquers Europe’s highest peak
Chitrasen Sahu has become the first bilateral amputee from India to climb Mount Elbrus, Europe and Russia’s highest peak. Sahu lost both his legs in a railway accident and is on a mission to raise awareness about inclusion by climbing the highest peaks on all seven continents.
“The last 300 metres were my toughest part and I wasn’t sure that I would finish.”
Chitrasen Sahu recalls the last few agonizing hours of his mission to climb Mount Elbrus, the highest summit in Europe and Russia. Sahu, a bilateral amputee, injured his left leg while climbing. Icy winds and a sub-zero temperature aggravated the pain further.
Our altitude was 5,440 metres, and my left leg was injured, making it difficult for me to walk. As I began climbing, I was unsure if I would be able to complete the climb. Further exhaustion resulted from vomiting. I sat down and thought about my journey since I was injured before I started climbing again. – Chitrasen Sahu, Bilateral amputee mountaineer
Sahu says he remained motivated throughout his climb by thinking of the larger attitudinal change he hopes to achieve with his mission, which involves disability inclusion. He wants to scale all continents’ seven highest mountain peaks, including Mount Everest.
Sahu has scaled Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, and Mount Kothiarath, Australia’s highest peak. Mount Elbrus was originally on his bucket list for 2020 until the pandemic and nagging injuries prevented him from doing so. With three missions under his belt, his final goal is much closer.
“The weather conditions made it difficult to climb. Several inches of snow fell just before the event, and winds gusted to 50 kilometres per hour,” he remembers. The crampons made Sahu’s climb easier but added weight to his prosthetic leg as well.
Sahu’s determination and laser-sharp concentration helped him overcome these challenges. “I simply concentrated on following the guide and ignoring everything else.” When the climb reached its end, he was ravaged by pain. “I couldn’t remove my prosthetic to check the injury because we were in a steep area. I applied a pain-relieving spray and took a painkiller and continued.”
An incredible account speaks of Sahu’s motivation levels and the human spirit’s ability to overcome any challenge.
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