Twisp River Fire survivor climbs Mount Rainier: ‘It took literally everything in me to get to that summit’

ASHFORD, Wash. -- Four years after the Twisp River Fire nearly took his life, burn survivor Daniel Lyon has reached the top of Mount Rainier.

As Q13 News first shared with you earlier this week, he's been training for this climb for months, battling through the pain of being burned on 70 percent of his body and the dozens of surgeries that came with it.

His goal was to summit on August 19, four years to the day the fire took the lives of his three firefighter brothers and nearly took his.

At the last minute, his climbing group backed out and it looked like his dream wouldn't happen. But Lyon is proof that when you set your mind to something, nothing can stop you.

"It took literally everything in me to get to that summit," he said.

There was nothing easy about realizing his lifelong dream of summiting Mount Rainier.

He was all smiles when he sent me a video on the first day of his climb at Camp Muir, telling me to 'wish him luck.' But as luck would have it, the weather turned the day of his summit as rain pelted down on the team.

"It wasn't an easy climb today," RMI Expeditions climb leader Brent Okita acknowledged. "It wasn't a sure thing.

With 70 percent of his body burned, any swing in temperature is difficult for Lyon to overcome. The wet and cold stung his burned hands, making it hard to hold on to the ice axe.

"I think most people would look at me and say, 'Mount Rainier is out of your league,'" he said.

But Lyon was determined to summit, showing the same grit he's displayed the past four years while recovering from his catastrophic burn injuries. His guide Ben Luedtke motivated him not to give up in those moments, but it was Luedtke who also learned something from Lyon in return.

"There's nothing that can hold us back and I think Daniel is a great example of that," Luedtke said.

There was so much weight behind Lyon's climb, carrying the memory of his firefighter brothers who lost their lives in the fire four years ago this week.

"I've said so many times this is what I want to do for their memorial," he said. "So on the way up there I was like 'I cannot stop now, I have to make it to the top.'"

And at the top, hand up in victory, he felt them looking down on him.

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