DSC02802_croppedIn yesterday’s blog I shared some thoughts concerning the upcoming Mt. Aconcagua Summit Challenge. In February a team of 9 combat wounded and injured military veterans, along with support staff and experienced guides will attempt to climb one of the Seven Summits of the world – Aconcagua in Argentina. It is the second highest of the 7, requiring not only physical strength, but mental toughness.

My question was simply what would compel a combat wounded or injured vet to do this arduous climb? I asked members of the CWVC Challenge team and will share their comments this week in our blog.

Challenge Warrior and Expedition Leader Peter Quintanilla is a retired US Army Ranger and below the knee amputee. Expressing why he climbs…

“I have always been an active person; always trying to be the best of the best or at least being able to hold my own with the elite. I do things that a lot of people want to do or I do the extreme version. I am not a dare devil-it’s all a calculated risk-but definitely a risk. I have always been drawn to alpine climbing; even before my injury. the honest truth, mountain climbing absolutely sucks! It’s hard, extreme temperatures, and a good chance of getting seriously hurt…but the serenity, pure environment above the cloud and being on top of whatever hill you just conquered-is second to none (in my person opinion).

Mountain climbing at first was just a challenge to myself, being able to do something that only “able-bodied” people were doing and things that no one expected me to do. I climb mountains for several reasons: (1)to show (by example) those that are missing limbs that it is possible-you just got to get up and go do it.(2) to teach my kids anything is possible if you have the will and mindset and (3) to prove to myself that I am still alive!

There’s a lot wrong in the world today, I figure if I can get a small group up and reaching for the summits, then it will exponentially spread to all aspects of life and society and build a better world.”

You’ll hear from Roland Vaughn, another Aconcagua Challenge Warrior tomorrow.