Travis Strong, an Army veteran and double amputee, lived up to his last name by scaling the steep steps and trail at the Manitou Incline in Colorado. Despite the loss of both of his legs, Strong conquered the trail in five hours with a group of soldiers from Fort Carson, and hopes his efforts draw attention to an important issue.
Video of the climb shows Strong’s second round trip. The first time he made the climb, it took nine hours. He managed to shave four hours off his previous trip this time, saying it was much easier than his initial climb since he had back up and brought energy snacks and water along.
The 41-year-old veteran relied on his arms to climb the steps, wearing gloves to protect his hands but using no other form of assistance.
According to a report by Rare, Strong was inspired to make the climb after seeing Mandy Horvath, another double amputee veteran, conquer the Incline Gains and Pike Peak last summer. Together, they are the only two double amputees that are known to have tackled the challenge.
Strong lost his legs in 2006 during an attack in Baghdad, Iraq. The Stryker vehicle he was in was struck by a projectile, which went through the truck and his legs.
He chose to make the climb to show people that anything is possible, no matter their circumstances.
While he significantly improved his time during this recent climb, Strong says he hopes to make the journey twice in the same day while also raising awareness of veteran suicides by setting a “22” marker every 22 steps along the staircase portion of the trail.
The “22” represents the number of veterans who take their own lives each day.
This climb isn’t the first time Strong faced off with a physical challenge. In 2006, he reached out to Ed Martinez, the Cocoa Beach city commissioner, and arranged to have Martinez teach him to surf, allowing him to catch some waves.