First Lakota surgeon makes history as he summits Mount Everest

Inspiring others to follow their dreams
Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 1:36 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - As of January, 6,338 people have reached the summit of Mount Everest and now we can add a Native American surgeon to that small list of climbers to have successfully reached the top of the tallest mountain in the world.

His name is Dr. Jacob Weasel and he’s a trauma and emergency surgeon at Monument Hospital in Rapid City. When he’s not with his wife and children, he dedicates his life to mentoring young Native Americans and uses his own unique experiences to inspire his community to follow their dreams. Through his nonprofit, Wopila Project, he raises money to fund different community projects and connects the dots for health services.

Weasel, who is a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe has accomplished something very few people ever can. He conquered all 29,032 feet of Mount Everest after leaving for the Himalayas on March 10th. His inspirational expedition raised funds for his nonprofit, the Wopila Project, aiming to raise $100,000 to build a playground in Rapid City’s Lakota Homes neighborhood and an additional $75,000 to fund three women’s health centers in rural Nepal, according to his website.

It isn’t Weasel’s first ascent; the spry and fit young doctor has successfully climbed Mt. Rainier (14,411 ft.), Cloud Peak (13,171 ft.), and Grand Teton (13,775 ft.). He summited Cotopaxi (19,347 ft.) and Chimborazo (20,549 ft.) in Ecuador within 48 hours of each other, and Kilimanjaro (19,341 ft.) in Tanzania.

Weasel said he was inspired, “When he first came across an article about the 1st African American man to first summit Mount Everest and this was the early 2000′s and as I got more interested in mountaineering, I tried to find the 1st Native American who has summitted Mount Everest and couldn’t really find anything at all and so I thought as an inspiration to kids to show them as a Native person you are equally as capable in achieving in whatever you want in life. Somebody should do it why not me.”

To see the full interview watch the video above.