Mark Wellman is internationally recognized for being the first paraplegic athlete to climb the sheer rock cliffs of El Capitan in Yosemite.

Here in Washoe County our Someone 2 Know hosts an annual event for people with disabilities to explore adventure sports.

Watching Mark Wellman speed by on his hand-cycle, you can see his strength and athleticism. Despite - or in spite of - being in a wheelchair, sports have been a driving force in his life: "I got involved in adaptive skiing, was on the U.S. Disabled Ski Team, went to two Paralympics." He even lit the torch in Atlanta.

A climbing accident in his early 20's left Wellman with a severe spine injury.

"I was climbing a mountain called Seven Gables, it's down in the southern Sierra," explains Mark, "and on the way down, I slipped on the scree and I rolled off a 100 foot cliff - and laid there for 30 hours."

Climbing was off Mark's radar - until he got a job as a park ranger.

"And all of a sudden I was in the Mecca of big wall climbing in this country, Yosemite Valley, and people from all over the world come climb El Capitan, Half Dome."

The mountain was calling... so Mark and a man named Mike Corbett developed adaptive equipment to allow Mark to scale El Capitan....using only his arms!

Wellman was the first paraplegic climber to do so. The men spent nine days on El Capitan.

"And after that climb we were sitting in the Oval Office talking to President George Bush."

Shortly after that visit, in July of 1990 President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans With Disabilities Act into law. 

Mark says his passion is in helping veterans and those with disabilities.

For 15 years Sparks Parks and Rec has hosted Wellman Adventure Day at the Sparks Marina - with a climbing wall specifically designed for those with physical limitations; "So we can use pulley systems to give them a mechanical advantage."

Participants can also try hand cycling or kayaking - all at no charge. It's all part of Mark's philosophy on physical activity; "Finding a different way to do the things you love to do."

This year's Wellman Adventure Day at the Sparks Marina is coming up - on Sunday, June 9th from 10:00 -2:00.

No registration necessary and no fees to participate.

Click here for more details –

Click here for more information on Mark Wellman and his outdoor adventure company -