Losing an arm in Afghanistan isn’t stopping Private Jaco Van Gass from climbing the highest mountain in the world. The 25-year-old South African soldier is testing a prosthetic ice axe of his own design, which he’ll use to climb Mt Everest next month.
Van Gass had the idea to attach a pick to a false arm after he travelled to the North Pole last year with Walking with the Wounded, a UK charity that helps rehabilitate soldiers injured in the field. He asked engineers at a rehab centre in Britain to help him design the axe.
The badass tool is formed from a regular axe, with one side sawed off and attached to the prosthetic. It also includes an electrical system to keep van Gass’s stump heated.