GWINNETT | Congenital amputee climbs Kilimanjaro | News
GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. -- Kyle Maynard doesn't believe in letting life pass him by.
"Don't sit back and idly accept the fact that circumstances are what they are," he said. "Go and do something."
And Maynard certainly practices what he preaches. The 25-year-old Gwinnett County resident achieved a personal goal of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro last week.
The accomplishment is made even more impressive by the fact that Maynard was born with a condition called congenital amputation, meaning that his arms end at the elbows and his legs end at the knees.
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Maynard reached the top of the mountain at about half the speed of a normal hiker, he told 11Alive News Friday morning, a day after returning from Africa with his team, Mission Kilimanjaro.
"I climbed on all fours. I went and I basically bear-crawled up the mountain," he said. "People typically summit on their fifth or sixth day at Mt. Kilimanjaro, and for us, it was our tenth day."
Maynard, who never does things halfheartedly, chose a difficult path to the summit.
"We ended up changing routes on the way up, which is a major decision," he said. "We chose a path called the Western Breach, which is the hardest, steepest route on the mountain. When we made that decision, we committed to it, and it made the difference."
Dan Adams, another member of Mission Kilimanjaro, expressed his amazement at Maynard's accomplishment.
"It was almost as if we were in a dream," he said. "Some of the obstacles that Kyle was able to overcome over the Western Breach -- it was just amazing what he could do when he put his mind to it."
So what's next for Maynard?
"I've got some major XBOX to catch up on," he joked, but promised that he won't sit still for long. "My main focus is motivational speaking and trying to reach more people and kids. I want to help people find their own passion and take their first step to do it."
Learn more about Kyle Maynard at www.kyle-maynard.com.