Amputee Vet Plans to Climb World’s Tallest Mountain
Charlie Linville twice tried to climb Mount Everest but never made it due to devastating natural disasters on and near the world’s highest mountain. But the Afghanistan veteran who lost a lower leg in combat is determined to reach the top — hoping to serve as an inspiration to others.
“I really found a passion to show people that anything’s possible, no matter what you do,” 30-year-old Linville, of Boise, told the Idaho Statesman.
“I hope to inspire other people and get them to get up and accomplish whatever they want to do in their life.”
– Charlie Linville
“I hope to inspire other people and get them to get up and accomplish whatever they want to do in their life,” he told the newspaper.
Staff Sgt. Linville, who joined the Marine Corps two years after high school, signed up to become an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician, disarming improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, according to the paper.
On Jan. 20, 2011, Linville and his team were tasked with a routine detonation — not immediately realizing there was an IED hidden beneath another one.
“I remember stepping on it, I remember the distorted boom in my ears, and being out of it and waking up,” Linville told the Statesman.
“I can’t say why — my bomb didn’t fully detonate. If it had, I would have been a triple amputee and I would have died,” he said.
Linville lost his right leg below the knee. His quest to climb the 22,000-foot peak began while recovering in his hospital bed.
“I got blown up and severely wounded and kind of sat in a hospital bed and couldn’t figure out what I was going to do with this rest of my life and what could this body that I now have do,” he told the newspaper. “And the answer kind of found me. Hey, go try to climb the world’s tallest mountain and see if you can be successful.”
Linville first attempted to climb Everest in 2014 but his efforts were thwarted when when an avalanche ripped through the Khumbu Icefall, killing 16 Nepalese guides and forcing officials at the time to close the mountain to climbers, according to the newspaper.
Linville — whose climbs have been sponsored by The Heroes Project, a nonprofit organization that helps wounded veterans — tried again the following year. But shortly before Linville and his team made the trek, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked Nepal, killing almost 2,000 people. The quake triggered avalanches on the mountain, which was once again closed to climbers.
Linville said he’s determined to make it to the top in May — and, in doing so, inspire others around the world who face physical and emotional challenges.
“And if I can affect one person, maybe directly — me knowing that person — or indirectly, like I don’t know them but they hear my story; and they get up, they leave their house and start doing (something) in their life …“ he told the paper.
“If it just changes one person’s life, then all the misery, everything that has come with it, will be worth it. Maybe I’ll never know if it was worth it. I guess I’ll go on living my life thinking that it was.”