Born with a severe form of cerebral palsy, Stephen Wampler set out to climb the biggest rock face in the world, El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. Stephen has the full use of only one limb, his right arm. Check out what he had to say about his astounding experience.
1. What was your motivation to climb El Capitan?
There were two motivating factors for my climb. First, I wanted to get the word out about the Wampler Foundation. I started the Wampler Foundation in 2002 with my incredible wife Elizabeth so that children with disabilities could be active participants in programs and activities that are centered around the great outdoors. Second, I wanted to prove to millions of physically disabled children that anything is possible. I do not mean to say that you have to climb El Capitan to prove yourself, but everyone has some kind of hurdle in their life and I want to motivate them to go for it!
2. How did you prepare for the climb?
In several different ways. I executed an intense weight lifting regimen, practiced climbing, and mentally prepared by training my mind to focus on the task at hand. By the end of my 18 month training period, I was at the gym 5 hours a day, 6 days a week. I trained at the Solid Rock gym twice a week for over a year. I also completed two outdoor climbs to test the gear.
3. Did you ever doubt yourself in the process?
Doubt crept in at the end of day three. I had been baking in the sun all day, and I didn’t drink enough water. I became extremely dehydrated. My body went into a state of shock, and I passed out. A few minutes later, I came to, and I knew it was serious. At that moment, I realized that I might not be able to make it to the top.
4. How did you feel when you reached the top?
When I reached the top, I knew I had made it. However, I was so out of it that I wasn’t able to rejoice. After climbing for six days, I just wanted off the rock!
Help support children with disabilities. Royal Robbins has created a custom T-Shirt, the proceeds of which go to support the Wampler Foundation, which offers camps for kids with disabilities.