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Soldiers prepare for South Pole race in Colorado

Aug. 8, 2013 - 05:35PM   |  
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TELLURIDE, COLO. — The four U.S. soldiers who will participate in a fundraising race to the South Pole with Britain's Prince Harry are in the mountains of southwestern Colorado to train and bond in preparation for the long days they'll spend trekking across Antarctica on skis.

The group began their training Thursday with a technical hike on a narrow trail along the box canyon that surrounds the town.

Capt. Ivan Castro of Fort Bragg, N.C., who was blinded after mortar shells exploded near him in Iraq, said he hiked the Via Ferrata with his arm on the pack of the teammate in front of him, anchored to the cable that lines the route. He said he had to do the first 100 meters or so on all fours and take baby steps at other points.

In the South Pole, team members will have to work together and communicate well in order to ski for 12 hours a day pulling sleds with their supplies, he said.

"It's a great opportunity to show the world what we can do, given the right resources and opportunity," Castro, who is on active duty at the Army Special Operations Command, said during a lunch break.

The other team members are Mark Wise of Colorado Springs, Therese Frentz of Del Rio, Texas and Margaux Mange of Yuma, Ariz.

They'll compete against teams of service members from the United Kingdom, including Prince Harry, Canada and Australia on the 200-mile course to raise money for re-integration programs for wounded veterans.

ABC News reporter Bob Woodruff, who was injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq, is visiting the U.S. team members while they're in Telluride.

The team is organized by Soldiers to Summits, a group started by Erik Weihenmayer, the first blind climber to reach the top of Mount Everest. It organizes mountain treks to help the recovery of disabled veterans.

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