A Huge Summit With Huge Purpose
Chad Jukes lost more than his leg after his vehicle hit an improvised explosive device (IED) in Iraq ten years ago. When he returned home to Ouray, Colorado, Jukes was also struggling with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a condition that affects millions of veterans every day. However, rather than letting the loss of his leg or his fight with PTSD keep him down, Jukes kept climbing up, all the way to the top of the world.
Jukes’s plan to summit Everest was for more than just the title (he’s the second combat-wounded service member to reach the peak). Rather, he was driven by his personal connection to the fight against PTSD. Not only is Jukes someone who suffers from the condition, he also has many friends who either have PTSD or lost the battle and ultimately committed suicide. His fight to increase awareness about the PTSD and increase research into finding a treatment are what drove his steps up the mountain.
Despite having his right leg amputated below the knee after his accident, Jukes never stopped climbing. He loves the climbs around his hometown of Ouray and has summited many big names around the world, never letting his disability drag him down. He wore a static socket for seven years, only to make the switch to an adjustable prosthetic in 2012. This change was significant for him both mentally and physically:
“While using a well fitting static socket it wasn’t uncommon for me to spend a day a week resting without wearing my prosthesis. I would have hot spots and swelling that would cause extreme pain and discomfort.
Wearing the RevoFit socket over the past 3 years has virtually eliminated those rest days. The ability to adjust the fit of my socket for comfort has allowed me to work and climb more reliably. The knowledge that I can go deep into the wilderness without severe pain and discomfort has granted me a greater level of independence.”
Jukes was accompanied by 2nd Lt. Harold Earls and Capt. Elyse Ping Medvigy, two active-duty soldiers, a guide, and a filmmaker. Their trip was in partnership with U.S. Expeditions and Explorations (USX), a non-profit that aims to empower veterans to inspire others through expeditions and research, including research surrounding PTSD.
Chad Jukes is more than just another person who summited Everest. He is an adaptive athlete, an advocate, and a veteran. Not only did he climb the tallest peak in the world, he also became an inspiration for an issue that affects millions of people every day. Despite the problems Jukes has faced, nothing has ever stopped him from reaching the top.
Click below to listen to a conversation with Chad Jukes!