Double Amputee Climbs the Matterhorn
9th August 2020
Last modified on May 14th, 2021
A former soldier who lost both of his legs in Iraq has become the first above-the-knee double amputee to reach the summit.
39-year old Neil Heritage from Dorset, successfully scaled the peak after two previous attempts failed due to bad weather.
He made the climb with his friend, 46-year old Mark Hooks, and three mountain guides.
The ex-corporal, who lost his legs to a suicide bomb in Iraq in 2004, said he was “over the moon”.
His co-climber Mark Hooks said: “It was just so special, managing to achieve something we’ve worked so hard on over the years.”
His specially-designed prosthetic limb fell off 100m from the summit and took more than 20 minutes to recover and reattach.
Mr Heritage, who runs a charity for injured veterans, is planning to kayak the Amazon river in 2021.
Since losing his legs, Mr Heritage has completed triathlons, learned to ski and rowed across the Atlantic Ocean in the Row2Recovery team.
The Matterhorn ascent has raised more than £7,000 for Mr Heritage’s charity Climb 2 Recovery.
To donate to Climb 2 Recovery, visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/climb-2-recovery
Climb2Recovery is a charity that offers climbing courses to help with both physical and mental recovery.
It aims to make the sport more accessible to both beginners and experienced climbers, whatever their current abilities.
Much more than that though, through climbing it wants to build all-important support networks.
“Many of the veterans that climb with us have stayed on as part of our community, taking part in multiple courses, and the hope is that the friendships and contacts they make will lead to them finding lifelong climbing partners as well as peer mentoring and training opportunities,” said the charity.
Since Climb 2 Recovery formed in 2016 it has engaged with 38 veterans, 36 of which remain on the program.
8 veterans have qualify as rock climbing instructors and it has taken 28 veterans on alpine climbing courses over a 4-year period.
It has run 8 climbing courses in the UK and provided 2 climbing trips to El Chorro in Spain.