Disabled man faces leg amputation after injury during Ben Nevis climb

Shaun Gash on a previous climb. Picture: GoFundMe
Shaun Gash on a previous climb. Picture: GoFundMe
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A disabled dad may be forced to have his leg amputated after it became trapped under his wheelchair and mangled while he attempted to scale the UK’s highest mountain.

Shaun Gash’s climbing feat came to an horrific end - just 300 metres from the top of Ben Nevis -- after he badly broke his right leg in several places.

The paraplegic was completely unaware his leg had become trapped beneath his off-road wheelchair and had been smashing against the huge rocks.

Shaun’s wife Dawn, 46, and daughter Niamh, 13, who had joined him on the climb, watched the horror unfold as he was airlifted off the peak.

Now Shaun, 47, a family support worker, faces having his leg amputated because his injuries are so severe.

The philanthropist, from Lancaster, was trying to raise £3,000 for Help For Heroes, Calvert Trust Exmoor, Back-Up Trust and George’s Legacy.

But the drama unfolded just metres before he summited Ben Nevis.

READ MORE: Argyll climber dies in Ben Nevis tragedy

He said: “I was on a RGK off-road wheelchair. I had my legs on the footplates, but my right leg must have fallen off.

“I didn’t notice, but about 300 metres from the top I had an almighty spasm.

“I had my rucksack sitting on my feet and when I moved it I noticed my leg was off the plate.

“It was like jelly - I knew it was broken. I don’t know how long it had been dragging along the ground.

“There was a team of 35 of us climbing and we are always prepared and experienced.

“One of the guys had to make a make-shift splint from a walking pole to rest my leg up on the chair.”

The team raised the alarm and the coastguard came and winched Shaun off the mountain and to the Belford Hospital, in Fort William.

The dad-of-three has a spiral fracture on his fibia, two tibia breaks and his leg is badly blistered and infected.

He is now recovering in Raigmore Hospital in Inverness, where he could spend the next two weeks.

Shaun said: “I am just glad I can’t feel anything because the doctors said I would have felt a massive amount of pain.

“It wasn’t just a small break, I have done quite a job on my leg.”

READ MORE: Comment: Deaths on Ben Nevis should give climbers pause

Shaun, who has previously climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, and jumped out a plane for charity, added: “I think it’s made me realise I am not a bionic man.”

And Shaun, dad to twins Sharna and Kyle, 18 and daughter Niamh, says he isn’t scared at the thought of having his leg amputated.

He said: “I actually brought the idea up to my doctor. It’s not just something I am saying on a whim, I have to think rationally about my recovery time.

“I know my body and because I can’t feel my legs the healing process is going to take so much longer “If having it amputated can get it fixed then that’s fine with me - I have accepted it.

“Plus the doctors say I could suffer from bad muscle and tissue damage at a later stage so I am fine with having it amputated now.

“But it’s just really a waiting game until the infections go. I only have half a cast on just now because of the blistering.”

Shaun was a back seat passenger in a car that took a corner too fast and flipped over, snapping his spine in half after he was thrown out of the back window.

He said: “I was in my 20s when it happened. I broke my back, ribs, shoulder and punctured both my lungs and they gave me two days to live.

“But I met my wife Dawn while I was in rehabilitation so every cloud has a silver lining.”

Shaun has raised more than £250,000 for charity so far, with the Ben Nevis climb raising more than £2,500 so far.

To donate to his appeal go to