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Michael Lukens

Date of Surgery: 4/11/2016
Update (8/2017): Michael has returned to his position with the National Parks Service.

About Michael

I live in Estes Park, Colorado. I work as a climbing ranger at Rocky Mountain National Park. I grew up on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. I grew up exploring and climbing in the Olympics and Cascades. I started alpine climbing and backcountry skiing in college. Since my start I have traveled to many places to ski and climb. I have been lucky enough to travel to Patagonia the past 4 seasons to climb.

Career Background

I grew up next to Olympic National Park. From a young age I always dreamed of being a ranger. I ended up working at Rocky Mountain National Park in 2011 and have been working at the park since. Before working at Rocky, I spent time working in Olympic National Park, at Mt Rainier National Park, Joshua Tree National Park and at Dinosaur National Monument. I am currently a year round lead climbing ranger at Rocky, it was a long time in the making. I bounced around from seasonal climbing ranger positions before ending up in the position that I am in. I currently plan on staying at Rocky although I contemplate returning to the Pacific Northwest to work at Mt Rainier or in the North Cascades as a climbing ranger. In the future I see myself staying within mountain rescue.

Treatment Procedure and Recovery Plan

I had a meniscectomy which is the surgical removal of part of the torn meniscus in my right knee. My recovery is still ongoing but I am almost back to 100%. I was cleared to return to normal work status after 6 weeks but dealt with some pain and swelling in my right knee throughout most of the summer. I went to physical therapy for two months after the surgery, which greatly improved my return to work. I currently and working with little to no side effects from my surgery.


"The Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation helped to take a lot of the stress out of figuring out how to pay for my surgery and were also amazing at keeping in contact and providing encouragement. Without the support of the foundation, I would have had to make some hard decisions about physical therapy and other after surgery support."

- Michael Lukens