Former Navy SEAL climbs Mt. Everest to raise awareness

Posted at 6:54 PM, Mar 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-29 18:54:55-04

Former Navy SEAL Don Mann was made for adventure.

“That`s what I`ve been doing all my life,” said Mann.

Whether it is deep sea diving, hanging off cliffs, or multiple marathons in one day, the former SEAL Team 6 member is always looking for the next adventure.

“There is something inside me that`s really disturbed if I`m not making forward progression in something,” he said.

Now, that something inside of him is pushing him to climb Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world.

“I haven`t been this excited about anything since becoming a SEAL,” he joked.

The 58-year-old has climbed Mount Denali in Alaska, among many others, but this is different.

“To me, to stand on top of the world and know in my own opinion the highest goal or achievement I could make in my life, it would mean the world for me,” Mann said.

His 60-day journey to reach the summit, more than 29,000 feet up, will likely be the most daunting task he has faced to date. The last two years have been some of the deadliest for those trying to reach the top.

“The avalanches are a problem,” said Mann. “Hypothermia, high altitude, pulmonary edema, cerebral edema, and frost bite are the concerns we have. And exhaustion. Some people just fall from exhaustion.”
He continued, “Once you get over 24,000 feet, that`s when your cells start dying, and your brain starts dying, and you can`t spend a lot of time up there.”

Those fear-provoking facts are far from what scares him the most.

“My biggest fear as a former SEAL medic, and as an American, a Westerner, is seeing someone higher up on the mountain who`s collapsed, who needs help, but you can`t help,” said Mann, explaining that climbers are encouraged to pass others by or risk dying themselves.

Mann’s mission is not just a personal one. He is hoping to raise funds and awareness for fellow veterans. Daily blog posts along his trek will also highlight veterans in need across the country.

“Tell you the truth I`d like to do push up on the summit once I get there for the SEAL teams,” said Mann.

“If I`m broke for a long, long time that`s okay. I`m not even worried about that. I just want to do this and nothing`s going to stop me unless the mountain says no, you`re not coming up,” he said.