Living With Attitude

Fall River Herald, Newspaper Article – August 6, 1984


Woman amputee scales Mount Rainier

SUNRISE, WASH. (AP) – A one-legged hiker who grew up in Taunton Mass., has become the first woman amputee to climb a major U.S. peak without an artificial limb.

Sarah Doherty, a 24-year-old occupational therapist who now lives in Seattle, reached the summit of Mount Rainier Friday, after spending two days scaling the northeast side of the 14,410-foot mountain with a team of four able-bodied hikers.

Using specially designed poles with basket-like bottoms, she left from Sunrise on the mountain’s northeast side at 10 a.m. Wednesday and arrived at the summit on schedule at 9 a.m. Friday.

Before the attempt on Washington’s highest peak, Ms. Doherty spent half a year training for the climb by walking in Seattle. By the end of her training, she was spending her evenings going up and down the north side of Seattle’s Queen Anne Hill and had climbed shorter routes on several Washington mountains.

Ms. Doherty said her climb was inspired by several people, including Don Bennet, who in 1982 became the first man with one leg to reach Rainier’s summit.

In an interview before her climb, Ms. Doherty said she was one of nine children from a family from Taunton, Mass., Ms. Doherty lost her right leg and part of her pelvis at age 13, when she was hit by a car while riding a bike to a junior high school track meet.