Quadriplegic on El Cap…


Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
This thread has been locked
Messages 1 - 20 of total 154 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>

Big Wall climber
vancouver canada
Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 28, 2006 - 09:44pm PT
Hello all,

I’m looking to gather advice for an attempt on El Cap in 2007. (Last week in Sept)

First, it may seem crazy, but really.. I am the first quad to do any big climbs as far as I know. We worked for ten years to get to the summit of the Chief.

The Chief, Grand Wall...

for more info photos...

It takes a big crew, but we are getting faster and lighter all the time. So the story is part of a documentary out soon, but it is far from over. Like everyone else here, I have wanted to climb The Captain ever since I saw photos.

Planning has started for this trip, and the obvious questions begin with…

What time of year is best? What route? And how to get down?

So, that is why I am here, looking for advice and support. I have met amazing, solid climbers online who are willing to help, share ideas.

Please do use this tread to help us flesh out a workable plan.


Cardiff by the sea
Feb 28, 2006 - 09:52pm PT
You should talk with Wellman.


Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Feb 28, 2006 - 09:56pm PT
Hi, Brad.

Could you explain your basic set up? I looked at your pics, and your rig looked like it was designed to roll up the rock. How do you deal w/ overhanging sections? How much assistance do you take from your partners to make your rig move, and how does that work?

As for descending, I'd bet with the right off-road model(w/ excellent brakes!) and sturdy partners, you could take a wheel chair down the falls trail, although here's a link to a TR of a parapalegic woman's ascent where she was able to get a ride down the east ledges (4th class w/ raps) using a specially designed back pack and a really big guy.


Good luck with your plans.

Big Wall climber
vancouver canada
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 28, 2006 - 10:03pm PT

Oh… the system, people have questions how it works…

It is a simple one to one hauling system with a few twists.

The rope goes from the rig, and rigging plate... up to a big pulley at the station, back down to me.. through the rig where I have a cam that locks off. But, because a quad can’t pull his/her full weight, I have my rigger buddy on the rope between me and the pulley, above me to counterbalance my weight. But rather than do the regular ‘hauling’ at the station, he stays close to me walk the rig around as needed.

So the ‘counterweight’ guy jugs to stay just ahead of me. As I pull, he gets pulled down to me.. so he really jugs the route twice! So, we'll swap that guy out few times.Yea, getting help, but I’m pulling pretty dam hard too. I can pop the cam and get out of the system after getting to the station, so then the ‘belay guy’ (we have two grigri’s going.. one the ‘counterweight’ guy and one on me) takes the pulley and back up lines up the fixed line to the next station. So, we just need the leader to keep at least one pitch ahead of us. The team did fix all 12 pitches before hand on the Chief, but we are doing ground up climbing only now!

The ideas for getting down.. I have seen shots of Potter getting a tiny para girl down the ledges on his back, passing knots as he goes… well that is prolly too much for me and crew. Thinking about getting a custom made 3000 foot rope made and just lowering off the top! Sounds crazy I know, but could be on the ground in ten minutes if we are on a route steep enough to avoid any edges… elevator ride from hell!


oh.. Feel free to mock or tell me I should be sticking to the side walks.. I love that!


Big Wall climber
Blue Jay, California
Feb 28, 2006 - 10:05pm PT
Arrrr Brad! send that beast!

Big Wall climber
vancouver canada
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 28, 2006 - 10:05pm PT
I know Mark... but he is totally different, but got good ideas and well wishes.

great guy!


Feb 28, 2006 - 10:07pm PT
You're A5 when A means attitude.

You'll send it.

'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Feb 28, 2006 - 10:17pm PT
Cool! As a fellow Hoser who's always around on El Cap, maybe I can help you out, dude. Let's send it!

But I'm confused - as a quadriplegic, I thought this meant you didn't have the use of all four limbs. Yet you say you are able to do some pulling with your arms, right? How much pulling can you do?

Also, might it be possible to show us a schematic of your hauling system? I'm having a bit of trouble understanding the explanation above. Then again, it might be the beer, eh?

How did you come to be quadriplegic?


P.S. Just to tell you what a skeptical dumbass I am, when I first saw the post, I thought, what's this, another troll? Because I thought it was spelled "quadra" not "quadri". Geeeeeeeeez. It just sounded too preposterous. Which is, of course, the reason it would be so damn much fun to help you pull it off! Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!

Big Wall climber
Blue Jay, California
Feb 28, 2006 - 10:22pm PT
Brad im sure we can lower you down the slabs on the east ledges descent on a rigged up skate board or something, if we make some variations to the trail its almost completely all exposed slabs with out any bushes and obstructions.. you should talk to Ammon, he showed me his variation on east ledges decent and it was perfect from what i remember. the only trouble i can see would be the bottom half after the repels...
look at this trooper! Brad your a badass!

Big Wall climber
vancouver canada
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 28, 2006 - 10:27pm PT
srry, I just did something stupid to the website photos..

but here are a few large pics:


counter-weight (chris geisler, this guy is a machine/animal)

crew at the station.. (hobey walker keeping ropes in order)

And yes.. "quadriplegic" means loss of function in 4 limbs... so, no hand function, but strong shoulders and pipes.

see: murder ball.. aka quad rugby

any questions.. shoot..


Big Wall climber
vancouver canada
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 28, 2006 - 10:33pm PT
How did you come to be quadriplegic?

car crash.. full bio on my website..



Sport climber
St. Louis
Feb 28, 2006 - 11:23pm PT
Any photos of your forearms?

Please advise.

Social climber
la la land
Feb 28, 2006 - 11:24pm PT

Nice dude, I saw you up on the chief a while back, probably 2003 cause I think the rig was yellow colored. If I'm around I'd be more than willing to help out! This is rad, totally rad! We could haul you without wheels over by ZM area. This is awesome!!! I'd be more than willing to donate my time for this!

Keep it up man!!!

Feb 28, 2006 - 11:57pm PT
Why do you do it?

What does it do for you?

Trad climber
on a rock or mountain out west
Mar 1, 2006 - 12:29am PT
Brad, is that Dave Miller with you on the Chief (blue shirt)??

You might want to get ahold of Ammon, he did a climb on El Cap last fall with Timmy O'Neil and Timmy's brother who is parapalegic. They had some interesting systems going that I'm sure could be of help to you.

Trad climber
cayucos california
Mar 1, 2006 - 12:30am PT
Can i have your autograph....

Ice climber
Ashland, Or
Mar 1, 2006 - 02:58am PT
holy cow, that's awesome! sexy rig!

Last time I was in the Valley I saw these guys rappeling off the top of El Cap over the "New Dawn" wall. They were rapping on single 3000 ft line straight to the deck. I believe it took a bit longer then 10 minutes...more like 30. They had to go a perfectly consistant speed as not to melt their single 11mm rope.

As for a lowering system from the summit....I wouldn't be the guy to talk to...but there are a couple fellas around this site who could sure help with beta.

Best of luck to your ascent! Any specific route alternatives on the table yet?

Big Wall climber
vancouver canada
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 1, 2006 - 03:56am PT
zm, or the trip thinking so far...

the Fet

Trad climber
Loomis, CA
Mar 1, 2006 - 12:36pm PT

I came across your website while I was researching to help a parpaplegic friend climb last year (she had a blast and it was very rewarding for all of us). Great website, great climbs, great attitude!!

We all have strengths and capabilities and when we figure out how to challenge ourselves and then strive to meet those tough goals we get the most fulfillment out of life. That is a lot of what cimbing and life are all about.

You have been able to define your goal. The first quad to climb El Cap. That is awesome. The amount of work it will take to prepare and accomplish that goal is staggering, however from what I've read I believe you will do it. With the goal in sight, now it is time to focus on each task at hand and chip away at your project.

You are an inspiration to all of us. Bravo. I hope you put together a film crew and get some sponsors and I can watch your ascent in a few years.


Gym climber
San Francisco, CA
Mar 1, 2006 - 12:57pm PT
ammon should chime in here ..

ammon, cedar, and tim just did space last year with tim's brother who is a paraplegic ..

Messages 1 - 20 of total 154 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Return to Forum List
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks

Try a free sample topo!

SuperTopo on the Web

Recent Route Beta