Thomas Charles “Charlie” Linville, 30, who lost his right leg in Iraq in 2011, reached the summit of Everest on his third attempt. The first attempt was thwarted by an avalanche in 2014 and an earthquake in 2015.
Linville, a father of two, told USA Today at the beginning of the climb that standing on Everest’s peak at 29,029 feet would shed some personal “demons, showing … people that no, don’t you have pity for disabled veterans because we’re capable of so much more than you think.”
His ascent, sponsored by The Heroes Project organization led up the harder but less-traveled Tibetan side of the mountain. Climbers can spend weeks acclimatizing at lower camps but once they reach the “death zone” at 26,000 feet, there is only a third of the oxygen there is at sea level and they must push for the summit as quickly as they can before their bodies break down. Many have died near the summit.
Another veteran amputee, 32-year-old Chad Jukes, is also climbing the mountain using the same route.
Linville told his hometown newspaper, the Idaho Statesman in January that he hope he could inspire others with the climb.
“I really found a passion to show people that anything’s possible, no matter what you do,” he said. “I hope to inspire other people and get them to get up and accomplish whatever they want to do in their life.”