Combat amputee speaks about summiting Everest

Posted at 5:18 PM, May 31, 2016

This year's climbing season on the world's highest peak has already proven deadly, with five people losing their lives on Mount Everest. The Now's Andy Choi spoke exclusively with Retired Staff Sergeant Chad Jukes who made it to the top.

Jukes lost his right leg to a roadside bomb in Iraq nine years ago. On May 24, he became just the second disabled veteran to reach the 29,000 foot Everest summit. 

Days later, from Everest Base Camp, Jukes said he knew that climbers had lost their lives at the same time he was fighting to keep his own.

"It was very unnerving and humbling and startling to find myself in a situation where I could have become another death on Mount Everest," said Jukes.

Jukes said high winds forced delays on the way up, and the journey back down proved just as challenging.

"On my initial descent, my oxygen line was severed. I became extremely hypoxic. That just sort of caused me to slow down quite a lot."

Still even with his own personal accomplishment, Jukes maintains his journey is dedicated to the countless men and women still climbing out of the shadows of war. His Everest team, USX, hopes to continue raising awareness and money for veterans suffering from PTSD.

"You know, anybody that's at home struggling with PTSD or other similar challenges I would say just because psychological trauma seems to control your life doesn't mean that it has to forever."

Jukes is set to travel back to the U.S. later this week.