Inspiration From The Gimp Monkeys

Craig DeMartino, Jarem Frye, and Pete Davis call themselves the Gimp Monkeys. These climbers made the first all-disabled ascent of Yosemite Valley’s El Capitan in June 2012. The inspiring video below documents their story.

As you watch the film, you will quickly understand what Craig DeMartino meant after stating the following,

“We are climbers first, disabled second.”

These men refuse to be limited or defined by their disabilities. Yet while their accomplishments are undoubtedly incredible, I am not surprised after hearing them speak. Each man lives with a strong belief that failure is not an option.

As you will see below, their actions certainly back up their words.


“The right attitude and one arm will beat the wrong attitude and two arms every time.” – Pete Davis

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  1. El Capitan is a climbers right of passage; what an accomplishment! Definitely goes to show true disability is doubt. The view must have been absolutely breath-taking. One few have witnessed.. not only because of the scenery but because of the state of mind that came along with it. Thank you for the post Ross.

  2. I’m sure if I knew the realities of climbing (El Capitan!) more intimately my appreciation for what these men accomplished would be exponentially increased. But even though I’m not a technical climber I’m deeply impressed. Superb film production values, btw.

  3. I caught the climbing bug a few years back even though I live in flat Florida. One of my dreams was to be good enough to climb El Cap (or even a boulder in Yosimite) some day before I rest. It is truly inspiring to see ultra capable people doing something I’ve long considered to be a crowning achievement in a climber’s life. Thanks for the lift.


  4. I’d love to thank these guys personally. I’m 4 months past a near fatal accident and recovery is going surprisingly well. After breaking my neck, back, shoulder, collar bone, and three bones in my foot I managed to walk out of the hospital in 6 weeks. I’m happy to say the bones are healed but I’ve been told ill never climb again by my neurosurgeon because of the extreme nerve damage to my right arm. But these guys proved what I was deeply holding on to, you don’t need all of your limbs to be an incredible climber. You just need to heart and drive to persevere and I can’t wait to send my surgeon the photo of my next summit. These guys are amazing. Thank you Gimp Monkeys for giving me the boost I needed.

  5. This video is such an inspiration. There are so many times I run into people that want to train but they have the worst excuses I have ever heard. “My knees are bad” is one of them, so instead they do nothing but drink and eat fast food and then bitch about being 250 lbs. These guys in the video are such an inspiration.

  6. Unbelievable! Truly inspirational. I also agree with most of the comments above, I have no time for excuses. This video will be shared with my friends. Thanks, Paul.

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