Craig DeMartino’s love of climbing began 22 years ago when he learned to climb at a friend’s unconventional bachelor party in Pennsylvania. Since then Craig has traveled and climbed all around the world.
After an accident in 2002, through a miscommunication with his partner that resulted in being dropped 100 feet to the ground in Colorado, Craig suffered a shattered right and left heels, broken back that had to be fused for three levels, shattered ankles, broken neck, ribs, punctured lung, and a rare nerve disorder called RSD brought on by the trauma. After 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 became the first amputee to climb El Capitan in Yosemite in under 24 hours, climbing the route Lurking Fear, which is about 3,000 feet in 14 hours. The following June, he became the first amputee to climb the Nose, which is the front part of El Capitan and the longest route of 3,100 feet in 13 hours.
Craig returned to Yosemite leading the first All Disabled Ascent of El Cap, completing Zodiac, which is 2,000 feet in five days with Pete Davis and Jarem Frye. This ground breaking climb was featured in the film Gimp Monkeys and was chosen as a Banff Film World Tour travelling film.
Craig is a team member for USA Climbing, and competed and won a Bronze medal in September 2012 in Paris, France at the Paraclimbing World Championships being the only American to make the finals and win a medal.
Currently he is the 2014/2015 National Paraclimbing Champion and he has just returned from the 2014/2015 Paraclimbing World Championships in Gijon Spain where he repeated his Bronze Medal win in the largest competitive field in the history of the sport with 15 countries and 72 athletes from around the globe.
Craig continues to push his climbing by returning to the levels of free climbing he had before the accident as well as being a five-time Gold Medal winner in the Extremity Games climbing events. Craig is married to Cyndy, and together they are raising Mayah (16) and Will (14) on the front range of Colorado while climbing around the lower 48.