Trio of U.S. Veterans, All Amputees, Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro

Aug 12, 2010
Jenny Inglee is a Los Angeles-based journalist and the Education Editor at TakePart.
Three climbers with prosthetic limbs worked together to climb Africa&39;s tallest peak. (Photo: Reed Hoffmann/Disabled Sports USA)

Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa, proved to be no match for three determined military veteran amputees.

With only one organic leg between them, the trio from three different wars just completed an ascent of the 19,248-foot peak in Tanzania.

The soldiers are: Neil Duncan, a 26-year-old Afghanistan vet and double amputee; Dan Nevins, a 39-year-old vet who lost both legs in Iraq; and Kirk Bauer, a 62-year-old veteran who lost a leg in Vietnam.

Bauer is the executive director of Disabled Sports USA, an organization on a mission to provide opportunities for people with disabilities to develop independence, confidence, and fitness through sports and recreation.

This climb is part of Disabled Sports USA's Wounded Warrior Disabled Sports Project, which helps wounded vets rebuild their lives through sports.

Reported by the Associated Press, Bauer said, "The message we're trying to send back to the USA is no matter what disability you have, you can be active."

Sore, tired and triumphant, the three told The Washington Post about the challenges they faced climbing and descending the mountain.

Bauer's computerized prosthetic leg froze up above 15,000 feet, so he climbed the rest of the way using it as a peg leg.

Duncan, who has two prosthetic legs, found himself climbing on all fours when he reached the roughest terrain, and Nevins developed high-altitude sickness.

For the three, scaling down the mountain was not any easier than the ascent. According to the AP: "Duncan lost his footing and somersaulted. Bauer's artificial leg fell off."

Despite—or because of—these challenges, the men managed to redefine what's possible.

As Bauer told the AP:

If three amputees from three different wars and two different generations with literally one good leg can climb Kilimanjaro, our other disabled friends can get out and go hiking or go biking or swim a mile, can get out and lead a healthy life.

Here are additional photos of the trio's remarkable climb.

Trekking up Mt. Kilimanjaro. (Photo: Reed Hoffmann/Disabled Sports USA)

The veterans prosthetics needed adjustment throughout the climb. (Photo: Reed Hoffmann/Disabled Sports USA)

The climb took its toll on the vets but they all defied the odds and reached the top. (Photo: Reed Hoffmann/Disabled Sports USA)

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