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Paraplegic scales El Cap

Die-hard soldier hauls himself up Yosemite's 1800ft face

by Catherine Wilkinson


A disabled army veteran has this week climbed an 1,800 ft rock face using only his hands. Major Phil Packer, 36, lost the use of his legs in a rocket attack in Basra in February last year.

The soldier hoisted himself up the Californian Mountain to raise money for Help For Heroes, a charity raising funds to help injured servicemen and women.

The epic climb took three and a half arduous days. The ultimate goal was achieved when Packer reached the top of El Capitan rock wall in the Yosemite National Park in the United States.

Packer, who was told by doctors that he would never walk again, hoisted himself up the peak, helped by a team of experts including expedition leader Andy Kirkpatrick and Paul Tattersall, who has already climbed El Capitan five times.

Phil described his intimacy with his team, whom he “trusted implicitly with [his] safety.

“My friendship with Paul Tatersall grew stronger everyday”, he added.

The veteran hopes his triumph will inspire young people with disabilities to become involved in sports. The accomplishment sits tidily next to Phil’s other achievements – he previously rowed the English Channel and completed the London Marathon.


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