Student Uses Hands to Hike Up Sharp Top Mountain - - ABC13

Student Uses Hands to Hike Up Sharp Top Mountain


Bedford, VA -Sharp Top Mountain is the most popular trail at the Peaks of Otter. The 1.6 miles to the summit is steep and strenuous.

One Liberty University student has always wanted to climb it, and his trip to the top is quite a story.

Mark Simpson's the kind of guy who can't say no to a challenge.

"I like pushing myself to the limit. I like pushing myself so hard that it hurts," he said.

He's dreamed of climbing the Peaks of Otter for years, but there's one thing his trainer had to work around.

"I was born with a disability that caused my legs not to fully develop. I used to have legs but I was missing my thigh bone on both sides," he said.

At 17, doctors amputated both his legs.

"Pretty much anyone, when they're met with a challenge they look at the cons, I like to look at the pros."

So last Saturday, Simpson and several of his friends set off to conquer Sharp Top Mountain. Simpson hiked on his hands for most of the nearly 4,000 foot climb.

"My arms were shaking, they were screaming with pain. The last 10 steps to get up to Sharp Top, I was like, ‘Oh my Gosh, I don't know if I can make these last 10 steps,'" he said.

Simpson says he hopes his 2 hour hike will encourage others to keep climbing whatever hill they are trying to conquer too.

"I wanna show people that just because you're "handicapped" or just because you think something is wrong with you, it should never hold you back from reaching your goals," said Simpson.

Simpson says he'd like to climb the Peaks again. He says he is always looking for new challenges, so he's keeping his eyes peeled for something else new to try.

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