A woman from Colorado Springs likes to prove people wrong. This week she climbed one of the most famous sets of stairs in the state.
On Monday, 24-year old Mandy Horvath scaled the Manitou Incline with a group of friends. And she made that climb without legs.
“Just hand after hand, cheek after cheek,” she said with a smile.
Horvath has always loved the outdoors. That passion outlasted an obstacle that may have stopped many others.
“This is important to me because I lost my legs back in 2014,” she explained. “It’s believed that I was incapacitated by a date rape drug and left on train tracks. So I lost my legs to a locomotive.”
In the years since she’s become an advocate for others with disabilities. And she never stopped chasing adventures outside. Despite the challenges, she has a reminder to keep pushing herself tattooed on her chest.
“It’s one of those things where—tell me that I can't and I'll show you that I can,” she said. “When I said I was going to do the incline, a lot of people looked at me and laughed and said, 'OK, that’s funny. How are you going to do that?' I said, 'OK, watch me!”
The hike is straight stairs - 2744 steps - for nearly a mile.
Her friend and fellow hiker, Keith Topping, snapped many of the pictures she later featured in her Instagram post.
“Looking around you and everything is absolutely remarkably beautiful,” Horvath said. ”You can see everything in Colorado Springs from the Incline.”
She believes she is the first female double-amputee to accomplish the feat, but will have to repeat the journey if she wants to set an official record. She is also a student at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs and works as a chef in the university dining hall.
Horvath made the climb for Limb Loss Awareness month. She hopes to inspire others.
“When I lost my legs, there for a long time, I really thought life was over and that I wouldn’t be able to do those things again,” she said. “It took me a long time to realize I can do those same things, just a little differently.”