Chad Jukes, the second combat amputee who climbed the world’s highest mountain, has hailed Nepali Sherpas as the backbone of Mt Everest climbing.
Jukes conquered Mt Everest on May 24 from Tibet side. “None can even think of summiting Mt Everest without support from Sherpas,” he said, after returning from the summit.
Talking to THT in Kathmandu, Jukes expressed his hope that he would return to Nepal soon to work with the Khumbu Climbing Centre, which provides climbers and Sherpas with top-notch mountaineering training.
The 32-year-old Staff Sergeant (Rtd) lost his right leg in a roadside bomb attack in Iraq while serving in the US Army in 2006. According to him, he climbed Mt Everest commemorating the 10th anniversary of the horrific incident.
“I have done it to pay respect to our veterans,” Jukes said. According to him, he would lobby with the politicians in the US to raise the issues of veterans.
“Once I return to Colorado, I will start lobbying with politicians for the wellbeing of thousands of veterans struggling with the post-traumatic stress disorder,” he added.
Jukes recalls the Everest expedition as “challenging as well as amazing”.
The descent was quite challenging due to changing weather pattern, he said.
Jukes had summited Mt Lobuche in 2010.
Jukes was part of a 10-member SummitClimb expedition team sponsored by US Expeditions and Explorations while the organisation aims to spread awareness about military suicides and post-traumatic stress disorder.