In February, 2008, while in Iraq, Major Phil Packer was severely injured by a surprise attack on his British base
in Basra. Overseeing up to 5,000 men, he was injured when a truck rolled over him during the attack. This left him
paralyzed from the waist down, but this has not stopped him from tackling on of the most challenging climbs of the
world – El Capitan, in Yosemite National Park.
As part of his preparation to win a place at the 2012 Olympics, Major Packer will attempt his climb of this national
treasure in June of this year. Still recovering from his injuries and told he will never walk again, Major Packer
challenged the London Marathon and succeeded. He crossed the finish line for the London Marathon, 13 days after he
started the 26.2-mile course. This is particularly amazing in that Major Packer took his first unaided steps in March of
The El Capitan challenge is daunting. El Capitan, towers more than 3,000-foot above the north side of Yosemite
Valley and is composed of coarse-grained El Capitan Granite which is pale in color. This roughness will add to the
complexity of this climb, making hand gripping very difficult. The rise from the valley floor is nearly straight up,
with few areas to rest, with wind bursts across the climbing surfaces.
El Capitan has been scaled by other handicap climbers, most notably, Mark Wellman. Mark is best known for the first
historic paraplegic ascents of the sheer granite faces of El Capitan and Half Dome, in Yosemite National Park.
If you can, come to Yosemite this year and Cheer the Major on!
Keywords: Major Packer, Iraq, El Capitan, Yosemite National Park, London Marathon, Mark Wellman, Half Dome