Posts Tagged ‘El Cap’


A man who sets himself one challenge after another against extraodinary odds, to raise money to help others…

June 8, 2009

You might have heard of Major Phil Packer… the man who was paralysed in February last year when the vehicle he was in was hit by a rocket in Iraq. He suffered broken ribs and a crushed lower spine. He was the man who was told he would never walk again and yet he finished the London marathon, albeit painfully slowly, but remember – 18 months before the doctors said he would never get out of a wheelchair.

We like talking about extreme personalities and this is one man who is definitely worth a mention or two. Thanks to AffiliAid for this introductory video:

Phil Packer says: “From the original prognosis that I would never walk again, I have been very lucky and my injuries have improved. I set out to raise £1million by completing a number of challenges including 3 Main Events; Rowing the Channel, walking the London Marathon, and pulling myself up a Mountain. El Capitan is the last event before I concentrate on providing opportunities for people with disabilities and raising the profile of disability sports. I will travel to the USA during the first two weeks in June and with the expertise & support of Andy Kirkpatrick, Ian Parnell and Paul Tatersal, will pull myself up 1800ft in 3 days”.

A quick excerpt of Maj. Phil Packer completing the London Marathon (6MadeInEngland9):

and how he has successfully got others involved in his charity efforts (AffiliAid)

Packer started his 1,800 ft climb up the sheer rock face of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park yesterday, 8th June.

His ascent of El Cap. is being attempted despite the fact that he was told he would never walk again.

Major Packer, who lives in Westminster, London, has said the three-day climb will be his final fundraising campaign before concentrating his efforts on promoting opportunities for disabled people.

Climbing a  rock face would be a challenge most of us would balk at but with a characteristic display of courage over disability, Major Packer is determined to conquer the face that many able-bodied people have failed to do.

Pulling yourself up with your arms (the equivalent of doing more than 4,000 push-ups) is a painfully slow way to scale a rock face and though he’s in constant pain since the rocket attack last year, it’s not enough to discourage him from taking up this challenge.

He wants to prove that his disability is no bar to rock climbing even though he’s no fan of its dizzying heights.

Unseasonable rain over the Yosemite Valley won’t make his task any easier though experience suggests this trifling inconvenience  won’t interrupt his attempt.

He and his team are climbing to support ‘Help for Heroes’ and to raise awareness of Disabled Climbing Opportunites.

El Capitan Pic

Packer’s live update of his climb states: “Great day, currently at 250 meters. Very tough, arms are tired, but every pull up is one pull up nearer the top. Passed Pitch 6 out of 16. Sleeping on a portaledge tonight.”

Having attempted and completed a marathon, kayaked, sky-dived with the Red Devils and accepted El Cap’s challenge,  Major Phil Packer is, in our opinion, the perfect candidate as one of our extreme sports personalities.

To find out more about him, or if you would like to contribute to his fund-raising efforts, please go to:

His is a noble cause and I will keep you posted on the climb…


Fascinated by ‘El Cap’, today we decided to take a look at Grand Teton’s noteworthy events

April 10, 2009

Grand Teton is located in the north west corner of Wyoming. It is a classic alpine peak, so impressive that a whole national park has been named after it – The Grand Teton National Park. However, the mountain range itself is called ‘the Tetons’ or ‘the Teton Range’.

Grand Teton itself  is the highest mountain within the Park at 13,770 feet (4197 m), and the second highest in Wyoming.

There is a controversy over who made the first ascent of Grand Teton. Nathaniel P. Langford and James Stevenson claimed to reach the summit on July 29, 1872. However, their description and sketches match the summit of The Enclosure, a side peak of Grand Teton. The Enclosure is named after a man-made palisade of rocks on its summit, almost certainly constructed by Native Americans. When William O. Owen climbed the true summit in 1898, he found no trace of prior human passage. It is probably that the The Enclosure was first climbed by Native Americans, while the true summit was first climbed by Owen.

The Grand Teton has the most routes listed in the historic climbing text Fifty Classic Climbs of North America of any “peak”. The only other “peak” to have more than one route listed is El Capitan with, The Nose and Salathé Wall. Since the Tetons first ascent, 38 routes with 58 variations have been established.

The most popular route up the mountain is finished via the Upper Exum Ridge Route (II, 5.5) on the Exum Ridge, a 13-pitch exposed route first climbed by Glenn Exum, co-founder of Exum Mountain Guides. The direct start of the Exum Ridge using the Lower Exum Ridge Route (III, 5.7,) is considered a mountaineering classic.

A rough drawing of some of the most popular routes of the Grand Teton – photo and editing by Alan Ellis:

  • Yellow:   Owen-Spalding
  • Red:         Upper Exum
  • Green:     Lower Exum
  • Blue:        East Ridge
  • Violet:    Petzoldt Ridge

Noteworthy Ascents of Grand Teton:

  • Exum Ridge: July 15, 1931; Glenn Exum
  • North Face: August 25, 1936; Jack Durrance, Paul and Eldon Petzoldt
  • East Ridge: July 22, 1929; Robert Underhill
  • First Female Ascent: August 27, 1923; Eleanor Davis
  • First Winter Ascent: December 19, 1935; Fred Brown, Paul and Eldon Petzoldt
  • First Ski Descent: June 16, 1971; Bill Briggs and Robbie Garnett via the Stettner Couloir
  • Speed Record: August 26, 1983; Bryce Thatcher; 3 hr., 6 min.; Lupine Meadows to summit and back
  • First Grand Traverse: 1966; Jim McCarthy, Lito Tejada-Flores
  • Grand Traverse Speed Record: 2000; Rolando Garibotti; 6 hours, 49 minutes
  • First Winter Grand Traverse: January 19, 2004; Stephen Koch and Mark Newcomb

thesnazdotcom posted this video showing the climb up Upper Exum Ridge of the Grand Teton, and down the Owen Spalding route. Gives you a good idea of what to expect.

There is also an ultramarathon run in the national park, known as the Grand Teton 100 Ultramarathon.

The race is either a 100 mile event or a slightly less demanding 50 mile race through the Teton Mountains.

The course is a “clover-leaf style” loop, with each loop consisting of 25 miles in length over terrain that includes single-track, service roads, bike trails and short stretches of pavement.  The competitors will take on 5000 feet of vertical gain per loop. The 50 mile event is expected to last roughly 17 hours while the 100 mile course is estimated to take 36 hours.

The race is to be held on Saturday, September 05, 2009 @ 5:00 AM – Sunday, September 06, 2009 @ 6:00 PM.

Entries close on Tuesday, August 25, 2009 @ 11:59 PM.

An added benefit to this extreme family friendly marathon is the wonderful scenery that you will be surrounded by …

Click here to view the event organizer’s website