A climber who lost both legs to frostbite on Everest four decades ago reached the summit this week.

Xia Boyu, 69 and from China, summited Everest early Monday on his fifth attempt to reach the top of the 8,848-metre mountain.

He reached the summit along with seven other members of his team, said Dawa Futi Sherpa of Imagine Trek and Expedition, who organised Xia's Everest bid.

His success comes with years of training. He said he gets up at 5am each day and does 1,500 10kg squats, 100 pull-ups, 360 push-ups and 240 sit-ups.

Xia's dream of standing at the top of the world was nearly thwarted by the Nepal government, which last year banned double amputee and blind climbers from summiting its mountains.

The ruling was overturned by Nepal's top court in March, which branded it as discriminatory towards people with disabilities.

Xia first attempted to summit Everest with a Chinese government-backed team in 1975, but the attempt was hampered by bad weather.

He became stuck in the frigid low-oxygen environment near the top of Everest and suffered severe frostbite, losing both his feet.

In 1996 his legs were amputated just below the knee after he was diagnosed with lymphoma, a form of blood cancer.

He returned to Everest in 2014 and 2015 but Nepal's climbing season was cancelled both years due to disasters.

Bad weather forced him to turn back during his previous attempt in 2016 when he was just 200 metres from the summit.

"Climbing Mount Everest is my dream. I have to realise it. It also represents a personal challenge, a challenge of fate," Xia told AFP last month before heading to the mountain. 

The only other double amputee to summit Everest is New Zealander Mark Inglis, who reached the summit in 2006.

Xia is among the first of hundreds of climbers expected to summit Everest this month during a narrow window of good weather.

Nepal has issued 346 permits for this year's spring climbing season, which runs from mid-April to the end of May.

Most Everest hopefuls are escorted by a Nepali guide, meaning about 700 climbers will try to reach the top in the coming weeks.

Another 180 climbers are preparing to summit Everest from its north side in Tibet, according to the China Tibet Mountaineering Association.

Last year, 634 people made it to the top and seven died trying.