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Man with no legs climbs Mount Kilimanjaro

An American man who challenged tens of thousands of Canadian teens to "redefine their possible" last year has done the same thing for himself.

Spencer West, who lost both his legs due to a genetic disorder when he was five and walks using his hands, reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro on Monday.

“It’s dark right now, but the view was spectacular,” said West, speaking to Metro from the top of the mountain by satellite phone.

“We’re exhausted right now and I’m sure once we’re rested I’ll be able to talk about things in a more inspiring way,” he joked.

Photo Gallery

  • Metro/Free the Children

    Spencer West starts walking up the mountain on Day 1.

  • Metro/Free the Children

    David Johnson, Alex Meers and Spencer West.

  • Metro/Free the Children

    Teammate David Johnson pushes Spencer West up the mountain on Day 2.

  • Metro/Free the Children

    Spencer West pauses for a moment while walking up towards the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro on Day 3.

  • Metro/Free the Children

    Spencer challenges everyone to redefine possible.

  • Metro/Free the Children

    Alex Meers, Spencer West and David Johnson keep their spirits up on Day 3.

  • Metro/Free the Children

    The team camps on the side of the mountain.

  • Metro/Free the Children

    Spencer West gives a thumbs up on Day 4.

  • Metro/Free the Children

    Spencer West walks up Mount Kilimanjaro on Day 5.

  • Metro/Free the Children

    Spencer admitted his team was growing tired and the temperatures dropped as they got closer to the summit on Day 6.

  • Metro/Handout/Free the Children

    Spencer West celebrates reaching the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro Monday.

West is a motivational speaker with Me to We, and an ambassador for Free the Children, a Canadian charity that fights for the rights of children around the world. Last year, he participated in We Day, a day of stories, music and speeches that empowers teenagers to make a difference, whether globally or locally. Several We Days were held across Canada.

West said while he expected the climb to be difficult, they did run into unexpected challenges.

“I actually walked more on my hands than I thought I would,” said West, estimating he walked 80 per cent of the time. The rest of the time, he was in his wheelchair or strapped to a team member’s back.

West also said the weather was colder than they thought it would be, and that the climb down would hurt him more than the climb up.

“Going down is harder on your joints, especially for me, in my wrists and elbows,” said West.

West has helped raise more than $500,000 for Free the Children during the seven-day climb. It will take about two days to get back to base camp.

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