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Craig DeMartino using Pongoose clipstick in USA image Pongoose blog

Craig's Reaction

July 24, 2019

Here at Pongoose we are super psyched to have linked up with Craig DeMartino, the star of ‘Craig’s Reaction’. If you haven’t heard of it or seen it on the recent Banff Film Festival tour, ‘Craig’s Reaction’ is a film made by Bearcam Media of American climber, Craig, who was victim of a serious climbing accident in 2002 that completely changed his body and his life. We are always inspired by stories of inspirational people who overcome huge adversity and Craig is one of those people so we are humbled to be working with him.

On a routine day out climbing in Colorado 17 years ago, Craig was accidentally dropped 100 feet and ended up with multiple injuries and fractures, and ultimately an amputation of his most injured leg below the knee. Craig was lucky to escape without a serious spinal cord injury and a future in a wheelchair, not to mention his life. He endured a three month stay in hospital and with the follow-up support of a rehab facility and his amazing wife and children, Craig slowly rebuilt his life, and eventually his return to climbing with a prosthetic leg.  


Craig DeMartino hospital image Pongoose blog              Craig DeMartino climbing with prosthetic leg image Pongoose blog


Craig spent many years following the accident rebuilding his life. The point he is at now is testament to his positive attitude and drive to not let his disability define him. He lives by the mantra:

“Life is 10% circumstances and 90% my reaction”

Craig DeMartino climbing on red rock with prosthetic leg image Pongoose blog 

 Craig’s injuries and experience may have destroyed many of us but thanks to his positive way of viewing things, and no doubt a hell of a lot of work and effort behind the scenes, he has used his experience to help others and has done some really cool stuff since. We don’t want to spoil the film for you, and we really do urge you to watch it as it’s so inspiring, but here’s a few of the records Craig has chalked up since he returned to climbing with a prosthetic leg:

  • First amputee to climb Yosemite’s El Capitan in under 24 hours
  • First amputee to climb the nose of El Capitan in under a day
  • Leader of the First All Disabled Ascent of El Capitan
  • Two time National Paraclimbing Champion (US)
  • Two time bronze medal winner at the Paraclimbing World Championships

 In addition to these awesome achievements, Craig runs climbing clinics to teach other less-able-bodied people how to climb, inside and outside. We’re really excited to be able to support Craig with Pongoose clipsticks (or stick clips if you’re in the US!) to help his clinics and give confidence to climbers leading outside. Craig also uses his experience to speak at various events on challenging topics such as overcoming adversity, post-traumatic growth and embracing a new normal. You never know, with us climbers choosing a potentially deadly pastime, we could be needing one of his talks or clinics one day!  

Craig DeMartino using Pongoose Climber clipstick / stick clip image Pongoose blog              Craig DeMartino in climbing clinic teaching climbers how to use the Pongoose Climber clipstick / stick clip image Pongoose blog

Here's what Craig says about his Pongoose Climber clipstick:

“For me, sport climbing is a great way to push my limits, but I don’t want to hit the ground blowing the first or second clip. The Pongoose allows me to just focus on the climbing, the movement, and the fun that has drawn me back to climbing for all of my life. The durability and design allow for tall, difficult first clips, to happen with ease, and the size in my pack when collapsed make it easy to get to and from the cliff.”

Thanks Craig! :)

You can find ‘Craig’s Reaction’ on the Banff Film Festival website and other paid video platforms such as You Tube, Vimeo and Google Play, depending where you are based. Check out Craig’s website at and follow him on Instagram @craigdem


Photo credits: with thanks to Craig DeMartino.

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