Paraplegic Vanessa François Successfully Climbs El Capitan in Closed Yosemite National Park Despite Government Shutdown

(Lawrence, Mass) - Using only her arms, Belgian paraplegic climber Vanessa François has reached the top of El Capitan (El Cap), the world-renowned granite monolith located in California’s Yosemite National Park. François persevered during the park’s closure as a result of the U.S. federal government shutdown despite initially being turned away by park rangers.

Following a year and a half of training, on October 12, 2013, after 4 days and 3 nights on the wall, Vanessa and her team, made up of two-time world climbing champion Liv Sansoz, French military high mountain team member Marion Poitevin, and climber Fabien Dugit, climbed the “Zodiac” route to reach El Cap’s summit, a 600 meter vertical challenge that required more than 4,000 pull-ups from François.

As a partner of the Millet Expedition Project which provided financial assistance to François for this effort, Polartec® is proud to applaud François for her determination and strength in the face of adversity. 

"Not only did Vanessa overcome her physical disability on the wall and deal with the challenges of travel and expenses following a year and a half of training and planning, she unexpectedly had to plead with park rangers just to get into the park" says Allon Cohne, Polartec Global Director of Marketing. "We're very happy she has realized her dream despite the government shutdown."

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