CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A month after he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, Doug Maxwell told a Charleston Gazette reporter that he wouldn't say "never" to tackling another mountain.
"When I first got off the mountain, I was saying no way. But now the farther I get away ..., it's a little more appealing," the Charleston man said in a February 2011 article.
By the time fall rolled around, he had signed up for another adventure trip with the tour company Alpine Ascent. In April, he celebrated his 42nd birthday on a mountain in Nepal.
No, it was not Mount Everest, although he could occasionally see it from there.
"I have no desire to summit Mount Everest. I don't have the $70,000 or a year of my life," he said.
Plus, there's a 1 in 4 chance of dying on the 29,028-foot-high Everest, and the odds, he pointed out, would probably be higher for him. Maxwell has an artificial right lower leg and no left arm, the result of a childhood accident.
He did, though, walk about 70 miles -- "more than I ever walked in my life" -- gradually reaching 18,300 feet.
In his tour group of 15 or 16, some were trekking and a few were getting acclimated to the altitude to climb Mount Everest. One of them, Leanna Shuttleworth, set the British record for being the youngest female to summit Everest.
Judging from her May 22 blog post, it doesn't sound like Maxwell missed much. She wrote that she cried on the way up because of the "horrific" sights she saw. The high wind froze everything -- the tops of their water bottles, zippers, oxygen mask valves and even the corneas of one climber's eyes, causing temporary blindness.
"He ..., obviously, had to turn back immediately and made his way down the whole triangular face without being able to see. Luckily his eyesight is completely back to normal and he's doing well," Shuttleworth posted.
Maxwell said a guide from his Kilimanjaro climb with the same tour company was also going on to the summit, as was a Sherpa. It was Lakpa Rita Sherpa's 16th ascent.
Maxwell explained that if you are a Sherpa, your last name is Sherpa. Sherpas are Tibetans who live in the Himalayas and are expert mountain climbers, leading others who attempt to make it to the top of the world's highest mountain.
Kilimanjaro, at 19,341 feet, is the highest freestanding mountain in the world. Of that trip, Maxwell said, "You were there to climb and get off. There was no interaction with the locals."
In Nepal, he said, the hikes took them through cedar forests, farmland and small villages with children on their way to school or playing in doorways. They would stop for lunch at rustic, family-run lodges.
"You got a feeling of what life is like there," he said.
"It's a part of the world that you can't drive to. You have to walk to it. They don't have vehicles up there."