Climb for Heroes was an event held at Mount Baldy on April 12, 2015, to raise funds for The Heroes Project. The Heroes Project has nearly completed its goal of helping seven wounded heroes summit the highest peak on each of the seven continents. Six heroes have pushed themselves to success, and one, Sergeant Charlie Linville, remains to accomplish the feat. During Linville’s service in the US Marine Corp he moved from a 0351 Assault man to 2336 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician. On January 20, 2011, Linville was the victim of an IED explosion. His life changed dramatically. Determined to not let his injuries and debilitating pain take over his potential of a happy life, he agreed to join The Heroes Project and climb Mount Everest in the spring of 2014. Due to a deadly avalanche on Mount Everest shortly before he was to climb it, however, the trip had to be postponed.
To support Linville for his new departure date—April 14, 2015—many people, myself included, came out to climb the 10,064-foot Mount Baldy, about 60 miles from Los Angeles. Follow our adventure in our Climb for Heroes.
With a former SEAL, a former MARSOC Marine, and five women determined to climb to the top, our team was strong.
Tim Medvetz, the founder and president of The Heroes Project, oversees all of The Heroes Projects activities and maintains direct involvement with all of our wounded warriors. He is the lead mountain guide for every expedition with the Heroes and handles all of the logistics to make sure each trip is a success. He trains and accompanies each Hero on his climb. His passion shows and his influence continues to push these men beyond their limits. You can read Tim’s story about why he started The Heroes Project
And the climb begins…
They weren’t kidding! We started the hike up Devils Backbone Trail, the first steps started on an uphill climb. It was a great way to get motivated! We knew we were in for a challenge, but nothing would make us quit in our mission to reach the summit.
The scenery was stunning. Breathing fresh air, listening to the sounds of nature; it was pure bliss. It gave us an opportunity to be present with ourselves. With every breath you inhale, take a moment to appreciate the beauty that surrounds you. Open your eyes, draw in air, let it out slowly, and reflect on the wonderful life you have the chance to live. Be bold, be brave, be strong, be grateful, and be humble at all times.
Making our way up the mountain
When we reached Camp 2 we were greeted by one of the Heroes, USMC Cpl. Brad Ivanchan. Born November 4, 1988, Ivanchan enlisted in the Marines in 2008. In March of 2012 he was deployed to the deadly Sangin district of Afghanistan. There he spent the next three months as a machine gun squad leader, conducting foot patrols day and night in Sangin’s southern green zone. On the night of June 13, he stepped on a pressure plate of an 8 to 12 pound IED. Like Linville, his life was forever changed in that moment. The IED blew off both of Ivanchan’s legs, the right below the knee and the left above the knee. After understanding his injuries he met Medvetz and geared up for the challenge of training and pushing himself to climb one of the highest peaks in the world. In March of 2013 the men summited Mount Aconcagua in Argentina, a 22,838 foot peak. You can read more about Brad Ivaanchan
The trail up Mount Baldy was marked with inspiring and motivating signs. A message to push us further, to let us know why we were there, words to keep us present.
Although we took few breaks, we did stop sometimes to take in the beauty and the experience.
The climb to Camp 3 was a big push and many were thrilled to make it there. We proudly met two of the Heroes who have each climbed one of the seven summits. To the left is USMC Staff Sgt. Mark Zambon. Born in Marquette, Michigan, on November 3, 1984, Zambon started Marine Corps Recruit Training in San Diego in June of 2003. After completion he attended Marine Combat Training at the Camp Pendleton School of Infantry and then the Basic Supply Stock School in Camp Johnson, North Carolina. Zambon received orders to 1st Combat Engineer Battalion and deployed in February of 2004 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II. Zambon extended his deployment to 13 months, and when he returned to the US he sought orders to become an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technician.
Zambon deployed again in October of 2010. In January of 2011, while moving dismounted in response to an explosive device through a heavily IED laden urban area in Sangin, he was struck with fragments of an IED with a 10-pound main charge. The blast amputated both of his legs above the knee. The loss of one leg is a serious reduction in an individual’s ability to affect physical action. Two is disastrous. Doubts arose during Zambon’s recovery, but when he met Medvetz his faith was restored. In July of 2012 the pair summited Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, a 19,341 foot peak.
USMC PFC Isaac Blunt was born on May 21, 1991. After graduating high school in 2009, he enlisted in the US Marine Corps as an infantryman.
In March of 2011, Blunt was deployed to Sangin, Afghanistan. On June 13, 2011, he stepped on a pressure plate IED. The injuries he sustained were severe. He became a double amputee above the knee, and he lost four fingers on his left hand, his left eye, both testicles, and half of his penis. Two years later he was ready to tackle his most challenging mission: ascending Mount Kosciuszco, the tallest peak in Australian at 7,310 feet.
Summiting Mount Baldy
With the Hero himself, Charlie Linville, to wish him the best of luck in his attempt to summit Mount Everest.