Disabled British Vet Climbing El Capitan

Injured while serving in Iraq

A British veteran paralyzed while serving in Iraq is climbing Yosemite's El Capitan to raise money to help injured fellow soldiers.

Major Phil Packer of the Royal Military Police has raised about $1.6 million for the charity Help for Heroes, which assists injured service members. He is also hoping to inspire young people with disabilities and raise awareness of sports for the disabled.

"It's been quite intense, really," Packer said by phone Monday afternoon as he sat on a ledge about 800 feet up the face of El Capitan, one the world's most famous granite monoliths.

Packer and fellow climbers began the ascent Sunday and plans to finish on Tuesday afternoon. He is inviting the public to visit www.philpacker.com to follow his progress.

Packer, who is a paraplegic, is expected to make the equivalent of about 4,200 pull-ups during the climb. He is tackling the challenge with expedition leader Andy Kirkpatrick, Paul Tattersall, Ian Parnell and Ben Pritchard.

Nights are spent hanging from the mountain on a portaledge attached to the rock wall.

Packer was told he would never walk again after suffering a spinal injury in Iraq in February 2008. But he manged to regain some mobility.

Packer set out on April 26 to complete the London Marathon on crutches, having taken his first unaided steps just six weeks earlier. He covered two miles a day and after two weeks completed the 26.2-mile route.

He also rowed across the English Channel earlier this year in February.

Packer said he is driven to help others.

"I really want to give something back," he said.This article originally appeared on KCRA.com

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