Denali Expedition – 2011

Challenge Objectives:

Our objectives were aimed at demonstrating to other combat wounded veterans, particularly those returning from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, that despite their injuries, they can overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges and obstacles and improve their prospects to return to active duty with expanded opportunities. The study was focused on two major injuries and the limitations that lie within them at elevation: (1) double-lung transplant response to high- altitude mountaineering and, (2) below the knee amputation, specifically:

  1. Further the understanding and impact(s) of maximal exertion resulting from high intensity mountaineering at high altitude on a post double-lung transplant recipient within one year of the double-lung transplant. Never before has a double-lung transplant recipient attempted to reach these elevations.
  2. Test the mechanical and non-mechanical durability and effectiveness of selective lower limb prostheses and concomitant interfaces during high levels of performance and functionality demands, particularly while conducting extended ascent and descent in adverse weather conditions.
  3. Identify and record data associated with the above to further the development and improvement of prosthetics along three themes: (1) the fit of the socket with the residual limb, (2) the mechanical functions of the prosthesis and its components, (3) other qualities, e.g., bulk, weight, extreme cold weather functioning, etc., as recommended by the School of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Sciences, College of Medicine, University of South Florida.
  4. Dramatically improve the quality of life and potentially expand the prospects for amputee service members who seek to return to full military active duty with expanded vocational options. This includes potential for return to combat at high altitude terrain, i.e., the elevated regions of Afghanistan (12,000 feet).


Research Journal Link:

Combat Wounded Veteran Mountaineering Challenge – Denali-2011 – Explorers Club Flag 61 – July-2011



David Olson
INJURY/FUNCTION: Head of expedition
PROFESSION: Military (CAPT, Navy retired)

Gerard Coleman
INJURY/FUNCTION: Deputy head of expedition
PROFESSION: Military (LCDR, Navy retired)

Will Wilson
INJURY/FUNCTION: Amputee (BTN) & evaluator
PROFESSION:  Military (AOCM, Navy retired)

Justin Legg
INJURY/FUNCTION:Double-Lung transplant recipient & evaluator
PROFESSION:  Military (LT, SEAL, Navy, active duty)

Vic “Yeti”
INJURY/FUNCTION:  Partial hand and multiple finger amputee & evaluator
PROFESSION:  Military (SSgt, Army, retired)

Thibeault Tyler Hall
INJURY/FUNCTION:  Amputee (BTN) & evaluator
PROFESSION:  Military (SSgt, Army, retired)

Jon “JC” Cummings   
INJURY/FUNCTION:  Multiple leg and spinal injuries & medic
PROFESSION:  Military (SOC SEAL, Navy, active duty)

Randy Rosin
INJURY/FUNCTION:  Mountaineer & expedition videographer
PROFESSION:  Military (COL, Army, active duty)

Ed Coleman, MD  
INJURY/FUNCTION:  Mountaineer & expedition doctor
PROFESSION:  Cardio Thoracic Surgeon

Evan Olson  
INJURY/FUNCTION:  Mountaineer & support
PROFESSION:  High School Student

Kris Abel  
INJURY/FUNCTION:  Pararescueman (PJ) Medic & Evaluator
PROFESSION:  Military (TSgt, USAF)

Bill Cenna  
INJURY/FUNCTION:  Pararescueman (PJ) Medic & Evaluator for amputees
PROFESSION:  Military (SSgt, USAF)

Jeremy Maddamma
INJURY/FUNCTION:  Pararescueman (PJ)
PROFESSION:  Military (TSgt, USAF) 212th REQ