Danielle Lancelot Watson grew up on Long Island, New York and studied Art History and Philosophy at New York University. After graduating, she worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the Arms and Armor department for 4 years. At the same time, she was extremely active: snowboarding, rock climbing, and endurance cycling in her free time. She had begun rock climbing at 8 years old in upstate New York. She became increasingly obsessed with it until she left her job at the Met, moved into her car, and headed west to travel the country and world to climb. Danielle has travelled to South Africa, France, Canada, Mexico, and many places in the United States to seek out beautiful and remote climbing destinations.
On June 4, 2011, while rock climbing near Gunnison, Colorado, Danielle had a tragic accident. She fell over 250 feet, breaking her ankles, femur, pelvis, and back in 2 places. She is now paralyzed at T6 and a wheelchair user. She had 6 surgeries and was hospitalized for 3 and a half months. Her surgeon believes she has survived the longest fall onto a hard surface, and wrote an article about it:
Although her body was broken, her spirit is unchanged. While in the hospital, she was researching adaptive extreme sports. She has since learned to mono ski and hand cycle and has participated in various competitions in these sports, such as marathons and triathlons. She is involved with her local adaptive sports organization, Oregon Adaptive Sports, and looks forward to her travels to the Adaptive Sports Center in Crested Butte, Colorado for adaptive ski and mountain biking camps. She recently completed her masters degree in occupational therapy at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA.