Meet Hari and the Team
The Conquering Our Dreams team will consist of Hari, alongside some of his friends. In this particular case, his friends include Royal Gurkha, U.S. Marine Corps and other special forces veterans Krishna, Christopher, and Mingma.
The logistics & planning team for the buildup and expedition consist of veteran-owned companies Himalayan Ski Trek and Myrmidon Expeditions. Altogether, it is a formidable group that has come together to help the first person with bilateral, above knee amputations to summit Mt. Everest.
Hari Budha Magar
Home: Canterbury, Kent, UK
Family: Married, 2 young boys & 1 daughter
Military Resume: Corporal, Royal Gurkha Rifles, 15 years, Medical Discharge
Profession: Charity worker; Community Service Volunteer; Property Investor
Why this expedition: “To show the world that any disability, any hardship, can be overcome.”
Hari was born in 1979 to a farming family in the hillside village of Mirul, in a very remote part of the Rolpa District of western Nepal. It isn’t difficult to see how Hari’s early schooling began to establish his character. His primary school was a 45 minute walk from his village. Like most children in the school, Hari made the trek barefoot. His secondary education was a day’s walk from his village. Finally, Hari attended college in the capital of the Rolpa District.
At the age of 19, Hari joined the British Army, while he was studying in college. He served the Crown with the Royal Gurkha Rifles for 15 years. The Royal Gurkha Rifles has been an extraordinary part of the British Military for over 200 years, though the traditions of Gurkha warriors go back centuries. They are respected by the Special Forces establishment as some of the most dedicated and fierce fighters in the world.
Each year, thousands of Nepalese youth volunteer for the honor to become a Gurkha. 147 were accepted Hari's year.
During the course of his career, Hari served around the world in many different countries and conflicts as a:
- Covert Surveillance
- Team Medic
- Water Safety Officer
- Explosive Safety Officer
- Search Specialist
- Supporting his Infantry Platoon Sergeant as a multiple 2IC Corporal
- Graduating with distinction from the Assault Pioneer Platoon Sergeant Course
- Serving as an instructor in both Assault Pioneer and Infantry Courses
Hari was medically discharged after losing both legs above the knee in Afghanistan in 2010.
You can learn more about Hari’s military experience here.
Hari lost both of his legs above the knee & sustained multiple injuries to an improvised explosive device (IED) in Afghanistan in April 2010. Not surprisingly, but still complicating matters, Hari suffers Post Traumatic Stress (PTS).
Still, Hari says “I am a soldier that has been trained to fight. In the past it was an enemy. Today, I fight this injury. I fight to re-establish my mental health. I will live my life fully, help inspire others, learning new skills, relying confidently on my body as it is. It is what I have always done. I owe it to my boys, my wife, and my family. I owe it to my community. I owe it to the men I have served with. I am still Hari.”
Hari has proven that, as those who know him have come to expect. Since his injury, Hari has:
- Become a skydiver (UK and Cyprus)
- Re-learned alpine skiing (USA, Canada, Germany, Austria, & Nepal)
- Learned Nordic skiing in Canada
- Ran a Biathlon in Canada
- Won a gold medal in Archery at the U.S. Endeavor Games
- Won a Bronze Medal in wheelchair Table tennis at the U.S. Endeavor Games
- Re-learned Rock Climbing
- Re-learned Kayaking (Germany, Austria, Cyprus, Canada, & France)
- Became an avid Cyclist
o Rode the 100 km Colchester to London Tour
o Rode the full 63 miles in the Houston Independence Ride to raise money for disabled veterans.
o Rode in the Aerofest Independence Ride in Mobile, Alabama, raising funds for disabled vets.
- Re-established his Shooting Skills
- Learned Golf
- Joined a Wheelchair Rugby Team
- Joined a Wheelchair Basketball Team
- Played Sledge Hockey
- Took up the Javelin
Hari says that growing up in Nepal, he has wanted to climb Mt. Everest all his life. As a child, it was too expensive. As a Gurkha, there wasn’t the time. In Hari’s mind, it is finally time. He is enjoying the physical challenges of training. He has the time to prepare and acclimatize properly. He has friends that will join him.
Climbing Mt. Everest
In what we have all come to call “Hari Logic,” it is time to attempt Mt. Everest. Part of Hari’s Logic is:
- If we succeed, it will be recorded as a World Record that is never taken away.
- If we fail, it is still a record, as we are the first Team to attempt it with a person who has a bilateral above knee amputation.
- We owe it to everyone else who has lost a limb or suffered a disability, to show them it can be done.
- We will do it for our brothers and sisters in the military, those we have lost, those who have been injured and those with whom we served, representing them all at the summit of that mountain.
- We must do it so people younger than ourselves see what courage and determination can accomplish.
Then he asked us whether we wanted to train and climb with him – or just stay home with our televisions.
Hari is fully aware of the risk that he is taking. His family knows too. He understands the challenges of Mt Everest and that the climb will be a struggle with every step. He is aware that he may lose other limbs from frostbite. He could wind up in a chair the rest of his life - or even not return. But Hari says, "this is my dream and I believe this is possible with the right help and support."
Christopher Expedition Leader
Home: Wherever his dog and truck are.
Military Resume: Marine Corps, Captain
Profession: Co-founder & Operations Officer, Myrmidon Expeditions, South Carolina
Why this expedition: “It didn’t seem smart to let a couple of Gurkhas try this without a Marine along.”
Christopher is the Conquering Our Dreams Expedition Leader. He is well prepared for the challenge, having climbed the highest peaks in Russia, Europe, France, Mongolia and Africa. In 2015, he and Dustin started Myrmidon Expeditions, an outdoor adventure platform that brings together elite veterans, athletes and individuals for endurance expeditions around the globe. The purpose of their company is not just outdoor travel. Their program uses some of the most demanding environments on the planet as a framework to develop mental and physical leadership skills. “You can’t help but experience personal growth when someone sticks you in a harsh environment with your survival dependent on the skills and decision making of strangers,” Christopher quipped.
He and Dustin create skill development weekends, and athletic events as well as extended adventure races and global summit excursions that can require months to accomplish. His wilderness survival skills are well established through his time in the Marines and his other outdoor training.
It isn’t difficult to figure how Christopher got the idea for Myrmidon. He is an Ironman Triathlete, competed in the 2004 Olympic Trials, is an 8-time marathoner and has fished, sailed and dived while visiting some 35 countries around the world.
Although Christopher grew up in South Carolina, he has lived in 10 states. Prior to starting Myrmidon, he worked in the Oil and Gas industry.
Home: London, UK
Military Resume: British Gurkha Rifles
Profession: Founder, Himalayan Ski Trek
Highest Peak Climbed: Climbed Mt. Dhaulagiri, Nepal, the 7th highest mountain in the world. Krish summited the peak, and skied down.
Why this expedition: “Hari needed a better plan. He was going to just keep walking up.”
Other than Hari, Krish is the guy you’d most want on your team if you were going to climb Everest. Or anything else, come to think of it. Krish was trained by the Special Forces as a Mountaineering Lead. Today, he is an Heersbergfuhrer Military Mountain Guide. He is also one of the Founders of Himalayan Ski Trek, a first registrar Ski Mountaineering Company in Nepal. Krish arranges Ski and Mountaineering adventures for people the world over. He is a British Association of Snowsport Instructor (BASI). Krish also coaches the Nepalese Olympic Team. As you would expect for someone with a Special Forces background, Krish is an avid SCUBA diver, but more relevant, is also trained in Wilderness Survival, which may come in handy for us all.
Krishna has summited Mt. Blanc in the French Alps four times. He felt it was one of the best peaks for us to prepare for Mt. Everest. He has also spent substantial time on peaks exceeding 17,000 feet, including Mt Makalu, Mt Kenya, Throng La, Yala Peak and Mt Dhaulagiri.
Home: Kathmandu, Nepal
Profession: Partner & Director of Operations, Himalayan Ski Trek
Highest Peak Climbed: Mt. Everest
Why this expedition: “Adult supervision.”
Okay, perhaps we aren’t just a group of friends who have decided to take-on the world’s highest peak. Not everyone has a group of ex-special forces friends they can go climb with. Not everyone has friends who plan and accompany people on expeditions around the world for a living. Not many have a friend like Mingma.
Mingma has summited Mt. Everest five times. He has summited K2 twice. Living in Kathmandu, he climbs world class peaks like most people go to soccer games. But Mingma doesn’t just climb. He is a member of the Sherpa Rescue Team. Perhaps you’ve seen “Everest Air” on the Travel Channel which features some of their rescues. Mingma participated in the world’s highest rescue, long-lining a climber on Everest from 8,600 meters (above 28,000 feet). He was featured on another rescue from Mt. Dhaulagiri at 7400 meters (above 24,000 feet).
As a professional Mountaineering Guide, he has helped people summit and faced innumerable crisis on countless high altitude expeditions throughout Tibet, China and Nepal.
Mingma and Krishna together founded Himalayan Ski Trek, a unique organization that arranges and guides backcountry explorations of that vast mountain range. These expeditions are not for holiday skiers. They are arranged for people who want to trek, ski and snowboard places in the Himalayas that others have never even heard of.
Jim Landon serves as the Director of Health and Safety for the Expedition.
Jim began his career as a paramedic, obtaining his nursing degree from Ohio State University. He has completed fellowships in both Emergency Medicine and Surgery.
His interest in amputee care began after his surgical fellowship, and lead him to manage the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation’s Prosthetic Program, supervising the case management of over 2,500 patients.
Today Jim devotes most of his time to clinical research for The Ohio BWC’s Department of Operational Policies, Analytics, and Compliance. He has become a renowned authority on the role of advanced prosthetics and bionics.
Jim is one of the Founders of Operation Namaste, a nonprofit dedicated to improving care for people with amputations in developing countries, including Nepal. He has actively spent time assisting the Nepali Medical Community improve their standard of care.
Last fall, Jim successfully co-lead the 23-member Wounded Heroes Trek of Hope Expedition around the Annapurna Circuit. The trek included wounded heroes, including five people with amputations.
Jim lives with his wife Jennifer, an elementary school teacher in Upper Arlington, Ohio. Together they have 6 children, 3 grandchildren, and a Great Dane named Lily.
When asked why he joined the Conquering Dreams Expedition Jim grinned and said “Hari’s going to do it regardless so I wanted a front row seat.”
D. Ryan Hixenbaugh is the Director of Communications for the Conquering Dreams Expedition.
Hixenbaugh is a familiar face in the world of prosthetics, having spent 20 years working with some of the major medical device manufacturers in prosthetics and orthotics.
His advertising agency background and years of experience in marketing and media equips him to help manage the story of Hari and the Expedition. Hixenbaugh is also a Certified Inbound Marketing professional giving him the background and expertise to manage the digital side of communications.
Hixenbaugh’s experience with Nepal traces back to his work with Operation Outreach, a nonprofit literacy program whose work supported efforts to expand reading and educational opportunities for young girls growing up in the mountain regions.
In addition to his experience in prosthetics and communications, Hixenbaugh spent much of his wasted youth summiting various peaks in the Northwest.
Today, Hixenbaugh lives and works aboard a grand, old, restored 1947 50’ wooden yacht he keeps moored in Seattle.
When asked why he joined the Conquering Dreams Expedition, Hixenbaugh grumbled that he didn’t understand that he’d have to leave the water.