September 24, 2010
Congrats to Steve Wampler! Last week, he became the first person with cerebral palsy to climb El Capitan in Yosemite. Until he began is six-day ascent, Steve had never spent more than 24 hours out of his powered wheel chair. He estimates that he made 20,000 pull-ups during the 3,000 foot climb.
As many of you know, my friend Mark Wellman made the first paraplegic ascent of El Cap in 1989, just seven years after he was paralyzed from the waist down. For his climb, Mark invented a system that allowed him to pull himself up a rope. Apparently Steve also invented his own system based on the same concept yet tailored to his disability. I LOVE alchemists!
In addition to the two climbers helping on his ascent, Steve was also accompanied by a 15-person film team working on a production called "Wall: the Journey up." The goal of the film is to raise $2 million for Steve's summer camp (Camp WAMP) to help disabled kids. Here are details on the film project. And you can view a trailer for the film here. I'm betting he will not only meet his goal but shatter it!
Steve is just the sort of person who doesn't despair at adversity, he takes it on and uses it as a fuel for greatness. Until he started working on this project, Steve had never climbed before. Now he has done something that many able-bodied people will never achieve.