Warren Macdonald's Story

Yes, once upon a time Warren had legs; seen here in Africa's Ruwenzori Mountains circa 1991.

Yes, once upon a time Warren had legs; seen here in Africa's Ruwenzori Mountains circa 1991.

Warren Macdonald’s inspirational survival story began in April 1997 with his accident on North Queensland’s (Australia) Hinchinbrook Island. Climbing to the Island’s tallest peak, he became trapped beneath a one-ton boulder in a freak rock fall. Two days later he was rescued, only to undergo the amputation of both legs at mid-thigh.

Just ten months later, he climbed Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain using a modified wheelchair and the seat of his pants.

In 2003, he became the first double above-knee amputee to reach the summit of Africa’s tallest peak, Mt Kilimanjaro (19,222ft). Later that same year, in a spectacular effort requiring more than 2,800 pull-ups over 4 days, he climbed America's tallest cliff face, El Capitan. Warren is also the only above knee amputee to make an ascent of Canada’s landmark frozen waterfall, the 600 ft “Weeping Wall” in Alberta.

Warren’s bestselling first book, A Test of Will is the subject of the “Trapped under a Boulder” episode of the Discovery Channel series “I Shouldn’t Be Alive”.

His film documenting the epic four-week journey to Federation Peak, Australia most challenging mountain summit, The Second Step, has been acclaimed worldwide, screening on National Geographic Television and winning eight international awards including Grand Prize at the prestigious “Banff Mountain Film Festival”.

Warren has appeared on numerous news and current affairs programs, including “Larry King Live”, “The Oprah Winfrey Show”, and “The Hour” with George Stroumboulopoulos.

Warren works with businesses and associations looking to develop their resilience and to help foster a mindset shift towards “out of the box” thinking through his work as a Keynote Speaker.

Warren lives in Canmore, Alberta with his partner Margo Talbot.



"Everyone, including Mike, thought that you wove the challenges we face in Major Projects into your personal story extremely well and that served to really drive home the message about creating a crisis in order to raise the performance bar rather than waiting for one to occur."

Ron Genereux
VP Operating Plant Projects / Suncor



Find out more about Warren's motivational speaking.