Michael Groom became the first Australian to reach the summit of Kangchenjunga
(8598m), the world’s third highest peak. In 1993 Michael climbed to the top of
Mount Everest. What makes Michael's story remarkable is that during the
descent of the 1987 Kangchenjunga expedition he became blind, due to a high
altitude related condition. He spent the night above 8000m, causing him to
suffer serious frostbite on his hands and feet. When he returned to Brisbane
he had all 10 of his toes and part of both feet amputated. He was told he
would probable not walk again.
It takes incredible
determination and discipline to make it to the top of an 8000m peak and Michael
was able to apply those attributes to this new challenge. First he taught
himself to walk around the house, then outside to get the mail and eventually he
was able to walk around the block. Just three years after the incident and
facing life in a wheelchair, Michael was back in Nepal and climbed Cho Oyu
(8201m), the world’s sixth highest peak.
Since that night in 1987
Michael has faced the consequences head on and he has overcome any physical
limitations. After his 1990 ascent of Cho Oyu, Michael continued to climb and
prove himself at altitude. In 1993 he climbed Everest, 1994 K2, and 1995 Lhotse
and in 1996 Michael was back on Everest. Michael was working as a guide for Rob
Hall, Adventure Consultants during the storm of 1996. He managed to summit and
make it back down without injury.