Climber (pink) Maureen Beck climbs at Earth Treks in Golden Colorado on February 19, 2014. Maureen was born with a deformed left arm below her elbow, yet hasn't let that stop her from climbing. Maureen will compete in ABS Nationals on February 21 and 22 against other adaptive climbers. (Photo by Daniel Sohner)

photo by Daniel Sohner

How the Courses Work

Adaptive climbing courses include a mix of classroom education, open discussions and on-the-wall training and facilitation over a two day period. Facilitators explain the specifics for creating and curating an adaptive climbing program while developing safe, inclusive, supportive communities for adaptive athletics. With a focus on physical adaptation for climbing with paralysis, amputation, visual/hearing impairment, and neuromuscular disorders, these courses provide information and access to adaptive climbing equipment, the first of its kind comprehensive adaptive climbing manual, systems and resources. The expert anecdotes and lessons provided serve adaptive athletes, climbing wall instructors, outdoor guides, physical therapists, and well-being advocates of all types. 

Facilities that host a course will be better prepared to accept all people with adaptive needs and have the confidence to launch climbing clubs that help people transition from being climbers with disabilities to simply being “climbers.” Put another way, we want to help people make climbing a regular part of their lifestyle.

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COURSE AGENDA

Day One: Introduction To Adaptive Climbing

The introductory classroom session offers general guidelines on working with adaptive climbers – the things that are helpful for people with all kinds of disabilities. We will go over the major categories of physical disabilities: amputations, paralysis and other common neurological disorders, visual and hearing impairment, and brain injuries. Anybody new to climbing will have many questions, and adding a disability to the mix compounds that sense of “How do I get started.” The first day of the course will help you answer this question and become familiar with how to use adaptive climbing equipment.

We will also cover:

  • How To Improve Gym Accessibility
  • Screening Participants
  • Climbing Techniques
  • Assisted Belay
  • Mechanical Assistance
  • Side Climbing
  • Adaptive Tools: Climbing feet and other prosthetic systems

Day Two: Adaptive Community Clubs And Programs

Participants will get hands on instruction on day two, while applying all of the adaptive climbing skills learned during day one in real situations. The group will work together and facilitate an adaptive climbing event for a group of participants with disabilities.

The community session ensures everyone has time to practice and fine-tune the new skills and techniques. Effective communication, networking, planning, trust and implementation are all keys to providing a good climbing experience.

Ice climbing, mountaineering and outdoor climbing are not covered in depth, but we will also help show how indoor techniques can be applied outside.

After completing the course, the participants and facility will have the knowledge, resources and equipment to launch an adaptive climbing program at their gym. Adaptive clubs offer new adaptive climbers a friendly way to learn the ropes and it is less intimidating joining a group of people with similar disabilities.

See the full Level 1 Course Agenda here