Severe weather halts Team Warfighter Sports mountain climb

Team Warfighter Sports has concluded its 21-day climb of Mount McKinley, Alaska, due to severe weather, according to a press release from Disabled Sports USA.

The team reached 15,500 feet before severe snowstorms forced them back to 14,200 feet. After camping for 9 days waiting for the weather to improve, the team made one final attempt on June 28 before turning back.

“The team gave it a strong effort, working hard for weeks as they made their way up the slopes of Mount McKinley, but ultimately, weather conditions just didn’t cooperate,” Drew Ludwig, the expedition’s lead guide, said in the release. “The loose snow made footing especially difficult and increased the risk of avalanches. With more time and better weather, I am confident Team Warfighter Sports would have reached the summit.”

“This experience will drive us forward and we hope our decision to climb will inspire other wounded and disabled to do so as well,” retired Army Sgt. Kirk Bauer, a transfemoral amputee and executive director of Disabled Sports USA, said in the release.

The climb benefited Warfighter Sports, a program of Disabled Sports USA, that has served severely wounded veterans since 1967 by offering free sports rehabilitation in military hospitals and communities across the US. The team included five climbers from three wars. Army Sgt. Neil Duncan, Marine Capt. David Borden, Army Cpl. Steve Martin, Army Capt. Jesse Acosta and Bauer have experienced loss of one or both legs or damage to legs, hips and back.

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