Mark Inglis

First ever double amputee to stand on top of the world

Mark Inglis began work as a professional mountaineer in 1979, as a search and rescue mountaineer for Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park.

In November of 1982, Inglis and climbing partner Philip Doole were stuck in an ice cave on Aoraki/Mount Cook for 14 days due to an intense blizzard. Both men’s legs became badly frost bitten while awaiting rescue. Following Inglis’ rescue, both his legs were amputated below the knee.

Since then Mark graduated with a first class honours degree in human biochemistry to become a research scientist. That career evolved into winemaking with New Zealand’s leading winemaker, Montana Wines, where he became Senior Winemaker and spent ten years developing internationally acclaimed wines such as Lindauer, Deutz and the Marlborough classics like Sauvignon Blanc.

In 1998 he began working with Wayne Alexander of Britten Motorcycles and designing very light carbon fibre legs. He won an AMP Achiever Scholarship to support this work. Using the “legs” he developed with Wayne, Mark became an international competitor in disabled skiing and won a silver medal at the Sydney 2000 games.

The lure of the mountains is strong though and Mark’s attention turned back to mountaineering and specifically, the notorious Mt Cook – the mountain that cost him his legs and could so easily have cost him his life. After turning back just shy of the summit three weeks previously with “stump trouble”, Mark finally reached the summit of Mount Cook in January 2002, 20 years after he last stood there.

Mark received the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2003 for services to disabled people.

In September 2004, Mark successfully conquered the 6th highest mountain in the world, Cho Oyu (8,201m), becoming only the second double amputee to climb an 8,000m peak.

On May 15, 2006, after 40 days of acclimatisation and climbing Mark became the first ever double amputee to stand on the top of the world, the summit of Everest, a feat that illustrates what a unique individual he is.

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