Meet Carlie Cook | Paradox Sports Competitive Climbing Team

1. Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself? What is your background, what got you into climbing, etc. 

I grew up in Michigan but moved to the Northeast for grad school and then stayed in the area. I have always been an active person, even as a small child. And my love for sports and being active didn’t change after I sustained an SCI (spinal cord injury) in a car accident when I was 3.5 years old. I played collegiate wheelchair basketball for the University of Illinois. While working in the Chicago area after college, I attended an adaptive climbing clinic. From the moment I got my hands on those first holds, I fell in love with the sport and participated in every adaptive climbing program in the city I could! Once I moved to the Northeast, I had even more opportunities to climb and got involved in competitive adaptive climbing, and I have not looked back. I currently live in Western Massachusetts and work as a child life specialist in a pediatric ER.

2. What does training for comp season look like for you? Do you train independently or with a coach or group?

My training is a combination of all those things you listed. I have a coach who creates a training program I follow on my own, and we meet virtually every month to check-in. I also have a few climbing partners that I train with. Carlos Quiles, another Paradox team member, lives near me, so we try to get together once a week to train since we have similar goals and training styles. Typically, I get in about four training sessions a week, combining strength training, climbing, and climbing-specific workouts (hang boards, campus boards, pull-ups, etc.).

3. What does being on a team mean to you?

Being on the Paradox Climbing Team is such a privilege and means so much to me. I love the support and energy of being part of a team. One of my favorite parts about playing college basketball at U of I was being part of the team, so I was stoked to get to be part of a team while climbing at Nationals this year. Paradox has a way of bringing together groups of people that creates an incredible community that can’t be matched. The competitive climbing team was no different. Our team was high performing on the wall but also so kind, supportive, and full of stoke! We have an incredible team, and  I was honored to be part of the inaugural Paradox Climbing Team.

4. I heard that you got the crowd pretty excited on your finals route, how did that feel?  

It was so much fun to be climbing on a finals route, and I loved having the support of a crowd. It was also really special because I could hear specific people, like Sam Sala, from the team during the route, which made me smile and gave me a little extra energy. It was a really fun environment to climb in, and I am thankful for all the energy and support.

5. Congratulations on your Gold Medal! How did winning feel?

Thank you so much! I was just super excited to get to climb competition-style routes alongside all of my Paraclimbing buddies. It was fun to test out the training and see where I was. Also, I got my first competition tops at Nationals, so I was excited about that! I felt good about my climbing at the competition and look forward to building on it for the rest of the season.

6. Anything else you would like to add!

I just want to give a bit shout out to all my teammates who absolutely crushed it at Nationals! Also, a huge THANK YOU to everyone at Paradox who worked hard to make this team possible and all of the sponsors whose generosity made it a reality. I am so thankful for the opportunity and experience to be part of this team. I am looking forward to a great rest of the season.

Carlie climbing at the Paraclimbing Nationals in Austin, TX.
Carlie climbing at the Paraclimbing Nationals in Austin, TX.
Carlie climbing at the Paraclimbing Nationals in Austin, TX.

Photo Decriptions:

Photo 1: Carlie climbing at Paraclimbing Nationals.  She is on a route with pink, yellow and blue holds and she has her left hand on a small, pink jug.  She has her body rested on a pink hold on a large, yellow volume and she is looking up at the route.  Carlie is wearing a black tank top with black leggings with a yellow, upper body harness and a purple climbing harness.  Photo courtesy of Daniel Gajda (@gajdaphotography)

Photo 2: Another photo from Paraclimbing Nationals.  Carlie is being lowered off of a route and she is looking down with a big smile on her face. Photo courtesy of Daniel Gajda (@gajdaphotography)

Photo 3: Carlie is on a route with green and white holds.  There are two large volumes on the route that can be seen.  She is sitting on a big, green hold, on the first of the two volumes with her back against the wall.  Carlie’s head and right hand are touching the lower corner of the big volume above.  She is looking up towards her next holds.  Photo courtesy of Daniel Gajda (@gajdaphotography)

Photo 4: Carlie is topping out at one of the routes at Nationals.  The image shows her from the back and she has her hands on the top two holds on the wall.  Photo courtesy of Malcom Godowski.

Photo 5:  This image is a side view of Carlie as she climbs one of her routes at Nationals.  She has her right hand on a smaller, green hold, and her left hand on a larger white hold.  She is holding herself up and her body is suspended in the air as the route appears to be overhung.  You can see the Paradox logo on the back of her black tank top.  Photo courtesy of Daniel Gajda (@gajdaphotography)

Photo 6: Carlie is mid-move on a route at Nationals.  Her left hand is holding a blue hold while she moves her right hand up toward the holds above.  The route is made up of blue, pink and yellow holds as well as yellow volumes.   Photo courtesy of Daniel Gajda (@gajdaphotography)