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Colorado Champions: Amputee climber reaches Everest Camp 1 during redemption trek

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- A Colorado veteran is making her way up the tallest mountain in the world.

We are able to track her movements from halfway across the world thanks to her Garmin watch technology.

You can track her Garmin by clicking here. Password is KEverest23

As of Friday morning, Kirstie had left Base Camp and made her way up to Camp 1 where she is currently stopped.

Acclimation and acceleration are top of mind for former U.S. Marine Sgt. Kirstie Ennis. Kirstie arrived in Nepal in April. She writes on Instagram that she's feeling good, her prosthetics systems are dialed in after some treks around the region.

Photo Courtesy: Kirstie Ennis Instagram

Ennis attempted Everest in 2019, almost reaching the top. But some of her team was out of oxygen and they all decided to turn around. But now she's pulling from that experience as they try again.

"Look at how important it is for mental toughness and being able to stay present but also meditate," says Ennis. "And to be able to focus on the end goal out there because there are so many things on Everest that are just a challenge. You have to convince yourself to take another step every single time and you have to convince yourself to drink water or eat anything."

And while this is a redemption ascent for the war amputee and Colorado Champion, it's about more than just trekking for Ennis.

"So one of the initiatives in 2019 was we actually outfitted amputee orphans in Kathmandu at the Center for Disabled Children's Assistance," says Ennis. "Wheelchair parts, donations, the whole nine yards which was really one of my big MOs while I was out there. I didn't just want to go to Everest to climb it, but I want to be able to spend time with the people and be able to give back to their communities too. I am looking forward to going back to the orphanage in Kathmandu and of course the climb."

After having her leg amputated following a helicopter crash while servicing overseas, humanitarian efforts have been essential to Ennis since her love of mountaineering picked up. Each climb she picks a non-profit or organization to raise money for.

"I need to be in the mountains and I need to have something spark that fire and that passion inside me all over again and then I realized I could still be of service to other people well beyond just being in the military or having something super structured," says Ennis. "When I got out there I mean we essentially did a speed ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro, up and down in 4.5 days, and raised $150,000 for clean water."

Reaching the top of Mount Everest would not only boost her philanthropic goals but also her dream of climbing to the tallest point of all seven summits of the world.

"Then I realized I was actually good at it," said Ennis. "I was strong, stubborn. I am stupid enough to forget how bad it hurts that I keep coming back for more. And that I would be able to help people along the way."

We'll keep you posted on her movements over the next several days and her anticipated summit next week. The weather looks okay right now.

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Brynn Carman

Brynn is an anchor on Good Morning Colorado. Learn more about Brynn here.


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