Marine amputee climbs Mount Everest

Several wounded warriors are tackling the ultimate challenge – climbing Mount Everest – and one has already made it to the top.

Staff Sgt. Charles Linville reached the summit of Everest on Thursday, battling fierce storms, high winds, and little oxygen.  Linville became the first combat amputee to reach the top of the world.

Linville's climb was sponsored by the Heroes Project, an organization that seeks to publicize the needs of wounded veterans. 

Military Times:

A combat-wounded Marine veteran made good on his third attempt to scale the world's highest peak, the group behind his climb announced Thursday.

Staff Sgt. Charlie Linville, whose injuries in a 2011 blast in Afghanistan led to the amputation of his right leg below his knee, made the climb as part of "Operation Everest: 2016," a team assembled by The Heroes Project, a nonprofit group that sponsors climbing expeditions for wounded warriors and active-duty soldiers.

Linville was joined at the summit by project founder and president Tim Medvetz, videographer Kazuya Hiraide, producer Ed Wardle and a team of Sherpas. The group was the first to reach Everest's summit via the mountain's north face during this year's climbing season, according to a Heroes Project news release announcing Linville's achievement.

Linville's 2014 attempt to scale Mount Everest was cut short after a deadly avalanche. In 2015, an earthquake caused severe damage in the region and led to the cancellation of climbing season; Linville and his team assisted in recovery efforts, the release states.

This time around, Medvetz, who climbed Everest in 2007, and Linville had been in training since late 2015, including spending time in chambers designed to simulate high-altitude oxygen levels.

This year's team reached the Everest base camp April 17 and outlasted weather delays before making the final push to the summit on Wednesday, per the release.

As of Thursday afternoon Eastern time, Linville, 30, and the team "are safe and currently descending down the mountain," Heroes Project spokesman Zach Rosenfield said in an email.

What an extraordinary feat of courage and endurance.  The enormous challenge in ascending just to the 27,000-foot level of Everest is beyond most able-bodied climbers.  But to climb that last 3,000 feet – the Death Zone, as climbers call it – is absolutely heroic. 

Linville was fitted with a special prosthesis that featured metal teeth on the sole, allowing him to firmly grip the treacherous ice that covers the mountain.  The rest was sheer guts and determination, as every step in the Death Zone became a victory over thin air, high winds, and numbing cold.

If you pray, please ask God to watch over all our wounded warriors, and especially those on the mountain looking to prove to themselves they can do anything they set their minds to.

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