Amy Bannon joined the Paradox Sports Team in April 2019 in a unique position – she is serving as Program Manager for both Paradox Sports adaptive climbing programs and as Program Manager for Ignite Adaptive’s winter sports programs (located in Nederland, CO). The best of both worlds! We are excited to welcome her to Colorado and wanted our local community to get to know Amy as well!
Amy was born and raised on the east coast, and found her love for the outdoors in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and on the coastal shores of Rhode Island. As a volunteer for Adaptive Sports Partners of the North Country, she discovered the value of and her passion for adaptive outdoor recreation. Amy completed her B.A in Outdoor Program Administration at Prescott College in Arizona, where she also worked with the Northern Arizona Adaptive Sports Association (NAASA). She holds certifications as an AMGA Single Pitch Instructor, Apprentice Rock Guide, PSIA Adaptive Level II Guide, and Wilderness First Responder.
Read on to learn more about Amy, her adorable pup Elmer, and her passion for climbing!
Where all have you lived? Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Arizona, California, North Carolina, and now Colorado!
What is the first outdoor experience that had an impact on you? When I was 11 years old my mom took me “the long way” to go visit my sister at her college in Maine. It was my first time seeing “real” mountains as a flatlander from Rhode Island, so she let me stand on the backseat and stick my head out the sunroof so I could get a 360-degree view of Franconia Notch that I will never forget. It wasn’t long after that I started climbing.
When did you start climbing? When I was 13 I successfully convinced my parents to send me off to a week-long summer camp in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and I haven’t stopped since! I was definitely the nerd who came to camp with a notebook and pen so I could go home and setup my own top-ropes and keep up with the old Appalachian Mountain Club folks who would give me rides to Connecticut to get my fix.
When did you start working with adaptive sports? I started working with the winter Special Olympics program during my middle school years at Yawgoo Valley Ski Area in Rhode Island. It was so much fun! Similar to climbing, I was hooked, and I haven’t stopped since. Throughout my career, I’ve adapted hiking, biking, skiing, climbing, and more!
You obviously have a passion for both – skiing and climbing – since you are working in this joint position with Paradox and Ignite! But…. which do you like best?? Brutal!I like skiing best when its ski season and climbing best when its climbing season 😉
Tell us about one of your most memorable climbing trips. When I was in college, my climbing partner Neha and I were awarded a “Live Your Dream” Grant through the American Alpine Club to go climb seastacks in Scotland. Our mission was to bike the northeast coastline, from John O’ Groats to Inverness, as an entirely self-supported team. This meant that we biked with our climbing gear, food and bivi gear in tow and climbed every rock sticking out of the ocean we saw. It was a trip riddled with epic ocean approaches, bird puke, bike failures, learning, and so much fun!
Finding the right climbing partner can take a lifetime. How do you meet your climbing partners and what do you look for? Well, being new to Boulder, I am going through this process right now! I use Mountain Project as a forum to meet a wide array of climbers and it narrows down from there. I look for motivated and goofy folks that are open to pushing each other to become better climbers. Most importantly, I try and climb with people that know how to have fun and not take things too seriously.
Tell us about your dog! Elmer! He is my favorite creature on this planet. I adopted Elmer from the Humane Society before I left Flagstaff, Arizona. It was my way of taking a special piece of the desert with me back east. He is an energetic, wild and loving pup. He is named after Elmer Fudd, not Elmer glue. He’s the best biking, skiing and hiking partner around. If he had thumbs and dexterity, I’m sure he’d be the best climbing partner too!
What are you looking forward to most now living and working in Colorado? The access! I can see both Boulder Canyon and Longs Peak from my house, so I am constantly motivated by my surroundings. I have a huge admiration for the desert and the alpine. I can drive in any direction and access world-class skiing and climbing within hours. It’s a special place, and I am excited to get to know it more and more each day.
Have you climbed the Flatirons before? Surprisingly, not yet! Living on the edge of Boulder Canyon and working in Eldorado Springs has kept me occupied so far.
What is the dumbest way you’ve ever been injured? The amount of times I have grabbed a piping hot cast iron skillet or folded in half on a powder day are endless. Too much stoke for food and fun = dumb injury.
At Paradox we often get asked “Why Climbing?” vs. any other sport. Why do you think climbing is an integral part of what we do? Climbing pushes your mind and body in a way no other sport does. It allows your thoughts and movements to sync up in a way that is hard to achieve in the technological age we all live in. The comradery and community, or the “tribe” we belong to as climbers unites us in a really cool way. All of this can be felt within ten minutes of joining in on a Paradox program.
What has climbing taught you about yourself and life? Climbing has taught me how to stay present, find comfort in vulnerability, and instilled a sense of confidence at a young age. My greatest friendships and memories involve climbing, and I think that has a lot to do with what I noted in the sentence above.
What is your most unusual talent not many know about you? I used to play in a competitive dart league in Flagstaff. It was intense. As a result, I am semi-good at throwing sharp objects at a circle.
If you were a National Park – which would you be and why? Capitol Reef National Park. The quiet, secluded sibling to the larger, more known Utah parks.
What is your spirit animal, and why? A turtle. I like carrying my home on my back, so I can go anywhere! Slowly.
Oreos or cupcakes? Just in case you are ever climbing with Maureen Beck… Oreos. They’re easier to stuff in a pack!
You can reach Amy by email at firstname.lastname@example.org