A team of Iraq war veterans, as part of a Wounded Warrior program, landed at Kahiltna basecamp on Friday and are headed up Denali. The team consists of Dave Olson, Dave’s 18 year old son Evan, Justin Legg, Will Wilson, Vic Thibeault, Gerard Coleman, Randy Rozin and Jon Cummings. Legg is a double lung transplant patient who will undergo pulmonary checks on the way up the mountain to see how his lungs fare at high altitude.
Several parajumpers from the 212th Rescue Squadron and Alaska Mountaineering School guides round out the team. They will slowly work their way up the mountain in the next couple of weeks.
The group is funded in part by ScubaNauts International. The non profit organization works to guide young people by involving them in underwater marine science, but also promotes active citizenship and effective leadership skills. One of their programs is the Combat Wounded Veteran Mountaineering Challenge dedicated to the rehabiliation of wounded veterans. A Mount Kilimanjaro Climb is planned for 2012.
This season on Denali , there are less than 300 people left to climb out of the 1,209 registered in total this year. Almost one thousand people have completed their climbs. The summit success rate so far this year is 52%