Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Paralyzed Man to Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro

The moment of truth is almost at hand for a man who is no stranger to the toughest of challenges. In just a few days he'll be climbing Africa's Mt. Kilimanjaro as no one has ever climbed it before, as CBS News correspondent Karen Brown reports.

Don't tell Chris Waddell he can't climb a mountain. This week Waddell will try to become the first paraplegic, on his own power, to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro.

"I want them to go, 'Wow, I never thought that was possible,'" Waddell said.

Paralyzed at 20 in a freak ski accident, Waddell went on to become the most decorated Paralympic skier ever. But still, he's tired of just being "a guy in a wheel chair."

"I was an athlete for a long time - as a Paralympic athlete, I competed in almost complete obscurity," he said. "By getting to the tallest mountain out there, they have to look at me a bit differently."

At 19,340 feet, Kilimanjaro is the tallest peak in Africa. It's a so-called walkable mountain.

But when you are paralyzed from the waist down, it's all about your arms - and your will.


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