Craig DeMartino’s love of climbing began 22 years ago when he learned to climb at a friend’s unconventional bachelor party in Pennsylvania. Climbing resonated with Craig immediately and became the focus in his life. Since then Craig has traveled and climbed all around the world.
In 2002, Craig experienced a horrific climbing accident as a result of a series of miscommunications with his partner and took a 100 ft. ground-fall. Barely escaping death, Craig survived with a shattered right and left heel, compound fractures of both ankles, a broken back, broken neck, broken ribs, punctured lung, and a rare nerve disorder called RSD brought on by the trauma. After many months and multiple surgeries, Craig chose to amputate his shattered right leg below the knee in hopes of returning to climbing and getting his life back.
Once back on the rocks in 2004, Craig set his sights on repeating meaningful climbs he had done as an able-bodied climber. This challenge helped Craig redefine who he was as a person and a climber. Then, at the suggestion of a friend, Craig chose to return to Yosemite to climb El Capitan, a 3000 foot granite monolith and climber testing ground. Remarkably, Craig became the first amputee to climb El Cap, as climbers call it, in under 24 hours. He and partner Hans Florine climbed the route Lurking Fear, a 2,400 ft. route in 14 hours, setting a world record. The following June, he returned to Yosemite to climb the Nose, a 3,100 foot route that ascends the prow of El Cap. This route held special meaning to Craig because he climbed it prior to the accident and now he was the first amputee to climb the Nose in an impressive 13 hours.
Since that time Craig has accomplished many of his life dreams. This includes the first All Disabled Ascent of El Cap via Zodiac with Pete Davis and Jarem Frye over five days in 2012. Additionally, he was honored to compete in the World Cup for USA Climbing where he placed third in the Paraclimbing World Championships in Paris in 2012. He is the current 2014/15 Paraclimbing National Champion and is looking forward to the 2014 World Cup in Gijon, Spain.
Craig ‘s story of struggles and triumphs is documented in his book, “After the Fall,” which delves into his faith in God and his unique approach to and outlook on life. Living in Colorado with his wife Cyndy, and kids Mayah, 15 and Will, 13, they love to travel and climb around the world.