Soldiers on the Summit!

We did it! On October 13th, eight of our injured soldiers reached the 20,075-foot summit of Lobuche. These men and women overcame their injuries, gave it their all, and achieved a great victory—not only for themselves but for other veterans, disabled people, and all of our sponsors.

Meet Soldier Hero Chad Jukes

It's going to take a while to upload all the photos and videos from our summit day. In the meantime, let me tell you a bit about one of our more experienced soldiers. It's been over a year since we first met and teamed up to climb a famous 365-foot ice climb outside Telluride, Colorado called Bridal Veil Falls. During that ascent, Chad impressed me with his level-headedness and willpower. So it's no surprise that he was right there with us at the top of Lobuche!

Eight Soldiers to the Summit!

I'm happy to report that our team achieved our goal! All eleven soldiers made it to high camp, however, three elected to make that their summit. The remaining eight soldiers—Steve Baskis, Chad Butrick, Aaron Isaacson, Chad Jukes, Nicolette Maroulis, Justin Moore, Matt Nyman, and Dan Sidles—aided by our team of climbers and Sherpas reached the top of Lobuche on Thursday. It was a long, hard day and we're all exhausted yet elated. We will make our way down to Base Camp in the morning and give you more details. The entire team really pulled together to make this challenge a huge success.

Base Camp video tour

Check out my buddy Luis giving a tour of our Base Camp. As you can tell, Luis is a bundle of energy... little wonder that he's climbed Everest 6 times!

Meet Soldier Hero Ashley Crandall

Greetings from Base Camp! It seems like it's taken forever to get here, though it's actually just been a year of planning and a week of trekking. Now we are finally poised to climb our mountain. Getting this far has been a true challenge for everyone involved with the hardest work about to begin. While we all know that we are taking on huge adversity, with that risk comes even bigger rewards.

Spiritual Warrior: A Mom’s Take on Her Lost Son

Lona Parton, our trekker who lost her son spoke last night in front of the group. She told us about her amazing son Tyler who died in Afghanistan. He was a graduate of West Point, fluent in Arabic, and a musical genius who loved to climb mountains and play his guitar at the top. She told us in the months after his death she also wanted to die, but then she realized she needed to live on to be a good mother to her to remaining children. Her second son is about to graduate from West Point and will soon be deployed overseas.

Meet Soldier Hero Matt Nyman

In an earlier post, I mentioned that Matt Nyman has been having a tough time, particularly on the descents, both with his amputates leg and his other foot. Fortunately, he has been using a new innovative product from a company called SideStix that has allowed him to soldier on. As you read more about Matt, it will be obvious that he has the mental and physical toughness that it takes to climb a Himalayan peak!

Meet Soldier Hero Kathrine Raggazino

On our trek into the mountain, I have partnered with Katherine Raggazino, better known as Rizzo, as my guide. A big part of any team is the pure excitement and joy that one person can bring to everyone. On that count, Rizzo has given all of us an extra boost of energy.

Trials on the Trail

October 10, 10:30am PHERICHE – I’m writing from Pheriche, 14,200 feet, and I’m blown away how well the team is performing. No major altitude sickness or injuries. In Namche Bazaar, we had a team discussion and each of us devoted the next day’s hike to someone on the team. I picked Katherine Ragazzino (aka: Rizzo). A couple months ago on our Colorado training hike she guided me for the 1st time ringing a bear bell in front of me and pointing out obstacles. Out of Namche we hiked together again up the long steep hill into Tengboche.

Meed Soldier Hero Ike Isaacson

By any standard, Aaron "Ike" Isaacson is one of the toughest people I have ever met. His commitment to this team, and his fellow soldiers around the globe, is absolute. Like many of us, he has faced incredible adversity which he has learned to use as fuel that drives him on to greater things.