Warren Macdonald

Australian Environmentalist, Explorer, Mountain Climber, Motivational Speaker, and Writer

Warren Macdonald works with innovative, forward thinking organizations and associations looking to foster a shift in perception. Warren Macdonald’s life’s boundaries were redefined in April 1997 with his accident on North Queensland’s (Australia) Hinchinbrook Island. Climbing to the Island’s tallest peak, Warren Macdonald became trapped beneath a one-ton slab 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, Warren Macdonald climbed Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain using a modified wheelchair and the seat of his pants.

In February 2003, he became the first double above-knee amputee to reach the summit of Africa’s tallest peak, Mt Kilimanjaro (19,222ft), and more recently, in a spectacular effort requiring more than 2,800 pull-ups over 4 days, created history once again in an ascent of America’s tallest cliff face, El Capitan. He 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 first book, “A Test of Will” is an Australian bestseller and 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.

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

Topic Presentations

If we can’t see where it is we need to go, what are our chances of getting there? If your team or your members can’t see where you’re going, what are the chances they’ll get onboard?

In navigating change, and overcoming the challenges that come with it, we need to address the foundation; the root cause of why we often get stuck or disengaged, and that is, how we perceive change in the first place.

Expected Outcomes

This keynote presentation is designed to hit “reset” on how your team sees their role in your organization. Expect them to come away empowered, engaged, inspired and ready to take action. They’ll begin to see challenges and opportunities with fresh perspectives and renewed vision.

Key Takeaways


  • An understanding of the incredible importance of mindset, and how perception is the most important factor when it comes to limiting, or improving, our performance.

  • Specific tools and techniques to help break through the barriers that limit us.

  • How to develop strategies to counter inevitable setbacks that always come when pursuing big goals.

If COVID has taught us anything, it's that we can never have too much resilience... As things get back to "normal", we'll want to continue our resilience practice to fortify ourselves against future curveballs; setting ourselves up to take advantage of opportunities that come our way post pandemic.

This keynote presentation focuses on what we can do to prepare for our challenges in advance. On how we can fortify ourselves against the curveballs and roadblocks before they happen by practicing resilience.

Expected Outcomes

This keynote presentation is designed to move your team from “I can’t” to “Bring it!” To instill the understanding that by facing our challenges; seeking them out even, we build the strength and resilience required when bigger problems come our way.

Key Takeaways


  • An understanding of how resilience is banked, and is transferable across all areas of our lives.

  • Specific tools and techniques to build resilience.

  • Learn that “Bouncing Back” is just the beginning. By practicing resilience, we position ourselves to Bounce Forward towards our goals.

We’ve all heard it a million times; “change is constant”, “the only certainty in life is change”, “change or perish”. We all know it; what we need is for someone to show us how to deal with it. Warren’s “Challenge of Change” presentation will help your group realize that challenges brought on by change hold endless opportunities for innovation and personal and professional growth. That it’s the challenges we face that build the resilience we need as we’re asked to do more, with less . . . That it is possible to not just survive, but to thrive despite adversity.

Expected Outcomes

You’ll learn to see change as an inevitable, ongoing process that we’re all engaged with; not just something that “happens to us”. That by changing the way we see change, changes everything… You’ll never look at adversity in the same way again.

Key Takeaways


  • Foster the ability to recognize and breakthrough mental barriers to change.

  • Tools to build resilience for both business and personal growth.

  • A powerful shift in thinking that will put challenges into perspective.

  • Develop a breakthrough mindset that seeks solutions and opportunities.

It’s all well and good to set seemingly impossible goals; the kind that has your team looking at you like you’re nuts. Like this time you’ve really lost it . . . You need them to see what you see. You need to convince them, to inspire your team to follow you. To show them what is possible when you’re prepared to go One Step Beyond...


  • Beyond ordinary

  • Beyond conventional

  • Beyond perceived limitations


Expected Outcomes

You can expect your team to become engaged in raising the performance bar. Carol Gardibie sums it up best in her testimonial below.

Key Takeaways

  • Reinforced understanding of the power of purpose, i.e.: when we have purpose, we have an edge...

  • The ability to see obstacles as stepping-stones toward our goals.

  • A clear understanding of the importance of preparation in reaching your goals.

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, British Columbia

A Test Of Will by Warren Macdonald

A Test of Will: One Man's Extraordinary Story of Survival is a tale of adventure, courage, and triumphs, but most importantly, it is an inspiring story about embracing life from a man who almost lost his. Warren Macdonald, a fit and experienced hiker, set out to make the grueling climb to the top of Australia's spectacular Mount Bowen. But what had begun as a two-day adventure suddenly turned into a nightmare when Macdonald found himself lying in a creek bed, both his legs pinned by a giant boulder. While his companion made the solitary eight-hour journey to find help, the trapped hiker fought to stay alive. But this was only the beginning. A Test of Will has the suspense of a mystery, the pacing of a thriller, and the intimacy of the best inspirational literature. A gifted storyteller, Macdonald captures the terror and high drama of his hours alone in the wilderness. He also writes eloquently about his life both before and after the accident: his training as an adventure tour guide and his vow to continue his life in the outdoors even after both his legs are amputated. In 2003, Macdonald became the first double above-knee amputee to reach the summit of Africa's tallest peak, Mt Kilimanjaro.

All That Glitters by Margo Talbot

In All That Glitters: A Climbers Journey through Addiction and Depression, world-renowned ice climber Margo Talbot shares her compelling story of healing and self-discovery amid the frozen landscapes of the planet. Rescued from the depths of drug addiction and crime by the lure of climbing frozen waterfalls, Margo rises from the brink of suicidal depression in a jail cell to being envied by a client in Antarctica for having a “dream life”. All That Glitters is a story of healing and redemption; a story about losing oneself, and then finding one’s way back home.

The Second Step – A documentary film about Warren Macdonald’s epic journey to Federaton Peak

Warren's award winning (8 international awards) inspirational documentary film on his epic 28-day journey to Federation Peak, Australia's most challenging mountain. We all of have the ability to pull off some pretty incredible things, the difference is, some people are afraid of taking that first step. In the heart of South West Tasmania's magnificent World Heritage wilderness stands Federation Peak, one of Australia's most challenging mountains. Against all the odds, Warren Macdonald spends 28 days hiking to and climbing the peak, becoming the first double above-knee amputee ever to do so. Walking away from the social constraints so readily applied to the "disabled", and journeying into wild nature, Warren casts off the shackles and goes in search of the personal freedom he enjoyed before his horrific accident two years before. The Second Step is the profound story of one man’s extraordinary courage and determination to take back control of his life.

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