Community Through Climbing
By Tanner Jones
It started with meeting Mo Beck – if you’ve ever meet Mo, and you’re an adaptive climber you’ve probably heard the shameless plug for Para-Nats. We were climbing at Shelf Road, a Paradox Legacy trip in early May of 2021. Shelf Road was my first trip with Paradox and really my introduction back into climbing after my amputation in January of 2021. I showed up to the Shelf trip, not really knowing what to expect, I read the paperwork saying that we will top rope, have campfire time and meals were provided – sounded pretty chill so I signed up. Once there, I pulled up to a group camp site full o
f Tacoma’s with wheelchairs rolling around, the sound of crutches and prosthetics being unloaded all muffled by laughter and the voices of greeting friends – I instantly knew I belonged here.
Shelf Road and Paradox brought the joy of climbing back into my life. Climbing was something I only dabbled with after my initial injury in 2008 where I took a ground fall bouldering and broke my right tibia and fibula at my growth plate. This injury led to 11 surgeries with number 10 being my amputation. I suffered with limb difference and chronic pain for 13 years and amputation has allowed me to live my life to the fullest, and participate in sports I was not able to before.
The community I found through Paradox recently took me to Birmingham, Alabama for the 2022 Para Climbing Nationals. With the use of the Adaptive Adventure Fund I was able to afford travel expenses to compete. During my time at Nats’ I was able to meet countless adaptive athletes that absolutely crush. I learned more about climbing with my prosthetic than I ever thought possible. Side by side with other climbers we broke barriers and climbed in a national competition. Thanks to Paradox and the Adaptive Adventure Fund I competed at nationals and have now been asked to climb at a Para World Cup in Salt Lake City at the end of May 2022.
In my experience the community doesn’t stop at Paradox, they were kindling for a bonfire. Through Paradox I have found lifetime friends and climbing partners. I have been asked to go on climbing expeditions I never imagined possible. Paradox is more than an adaptive sports provider; they are a provider of lifelong adventure.