Former Reconnaissance Marine Keith Zeier is no stranger to daunting tasks. After joining the Marines at age 17, he was forced into an early retirement in 2006 due to injuries suffered when the Humvee he was riding in detonated an IED. Since then, Keith has continued to push himself to the edge of his physical and mental capabilities. In 2009, on a badly damaged leg, Zeier managed to complete the Keys 100, a 100 mile ultra-marathon. Shortly after completing the marathon, Keith’s left leg was amputated due to complications from his combat related injuries. After recovering from surgery, he then turned his sights to summiting Mt. Rainier in Washington, which he accomplished in the summer of 2012. It was during this trip that Keith’s love for climbing was born.
Andy Politz has spent the last 40 years climbing and guiding extensively on mountains around the world. His knowledge and expertise have led him up Everest and into high school classrooms, where he facilitated an adventure program for 25 years. In addition, he has also run a 6-month mountaineering program (out of Columbus, Ohio) for ten years.
Ascents of Honor is a group of like-minded climbers all volunteering their time and energy to help inspire the public, through climbing and mountaineering expeditions, to:
- Encourage contributions to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.
- Continue to keep the “invisible wound” (PTSD) in the public eye.
- Inspire Americans to engage returning combat vets.
It doesn’t matter if you’re climbing a mountain or working on an engine, the basic principle is the same; returning veterans are not limited by their injuries and can thrive in a welcoming and open community. They may be injured, but their spirit remains.