Veterans climb together in fight against PTSD

Posted at 9:45 PM, Dec 07, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-07 23:45:34-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Rock climbing is as much a mental challenge as a physical one, and for a group of veterans in Salt Lake City it’s the best exercise to deal with emotional issues.

That’s why Mike Cumming started a climbing support group called Operation Climb On.

“I fell into some pretty heavy PTSD type issues,” Cumming said.

As for Micah Van Wagoner, he felt like he was just holding on in a constant state of alarm while serving a yearlong deployment in the Philippines.

When he got home, the stress tied him up in knots, but he said it was nothing compared to what he saw other guys go through.

“Some veterans were dealing with drug abuse and DUIs,” he said.

Once a week, the veterans climb together, and if only for an hour, they can focus on the rocks in front of them and forget about what they saw in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“It's just calming because you are so focused, and you get to tune out the world. And when you get to the top you get to look out and see what you've done,” said Brian Wilson, an active duty Marine.

The wall therapy helps them work through their own issues, but also re-establish a brotherhood and a sense of trust.

Operation Climb On is always looking for new members, you can find them on Facebook by clicking here.