A man with muscular dystrophy was brought to tears when his friends carried him up one of the most challenging hiking routes in the world.
The Angels Landing Hike is considered to be one of the prettiest – and most dangerous – climbs in the United States, and Shue Vang’s condition meant that there was no way he could complete it on his own.
But Shue’s friend, Calvin Kim, decided to help, recruiting 31 others who committed to making sure Shue, 29, achieve his goal of completing the climb.
In wholesome footage captured of the epic climb, Calvin and his team can be seen taking it in turns lifting Shue up the route in Zion National Park, Utah – the summit of which is around 5,800 feet.
At some points, the team are on the edges of steep ledges, shuffling along in single file and using ropes to transport 130-pound Shue safely.
Eight members of the group took it in turns carrying Shue using a special backpack during the most difficult parts of the route on September 29.
Calvin said: “One of the beautiful things that I got to witness was seeing how the team naturally gelled together and worked so harmoniously.
“I believe this is because none of us had our sights set on ourselves.”
The previous day, the group had followed the parts of the Checkerboard Mesa route to plan their approach – with the challenging hike usually taking around a four-hour round trip to complete.
Shue first became aware of his muscular dystrophy in his teens, and as the condition progressed, he became paralyzed from the waist down, while he continues to lose strength in his arms.
Due to his condition, Shue had not hiked for around 20 years, and during the climb, members of the team shared their stories with the hashtag “ShueChallenge.”
When they reached the summit of Angels Landing, Shue was brought to tears by the emotion of the climb.
Calvin, who oversaw the challenge for his friend, put everything together through his charity, F5 Challenge, which promotes health and fitness.
Calvin, 45, from Lakewood, Washington, said: “Shue was so inspirational – he was so positive, with not one word of complaint or negativity from him.
“He inspired us.
“When we got up to less than halfway up the Checkerboard Mesa [the top of Angels Landing], we decided we had gone far enough, and we sat him down.
“He began to be overwhelmed with emotion and tears.
“It was a very emotional and moving experience for all of us.
“He said, ‘It’s been a long time since I’ve been at the top,’ and I don’t know if he meant this metaphorically or literally, as I know he hasn’t hiked up a mountain since he was about 9 or 10.
“Either way, it gave me a lot to consider, like how much I have to be thankful for.
“Sometimes, we take for granted just being able to hop out of bed.
“As much as I love climbing mountains, running, cycling, and climbing, I can’t even imagine not being able to do these things.
“I’ve done lots of races… and, hands down, none of those races or any of my PR’s can even compare to the sense of fulfilment or achievement that we experienced in taking Shue to the top!”
Story courtesy of T&T Creative Media.