Karen Darke Fifteen years ago Karen Darke, 36, of Inverness took a leader fall at an Aberdeen sea cliff and sustained a chest level break in her spine. Now she has made the first British paraplegic ascent of El Cap with Andy Kirkpatrick.
Karen is no stranger to adventure despite her condition. A year after her accident she completed the London Marathon in a wheelchair. In 1998 she crossed the Karakoram mountains on a hand-powered bike. In 2003 she sea-kayaked a 1,200-mile stretch of the Canadian and Alaskan coast and in 2006 accompanied by a team including Andy Kirkpatrick she crossed Greenland by ski.
And last week on their second attempt Karen climbed El Cap (by the route Zodiac) taking four days. A colossal effort not without incident, Karen sustained a broken leg on the descent.
Andy Kirkpatrick recounts this epic tale here at UKClimbing.com. Read Andy's account HERE