Meet Gavin Nix | Paradox Sports Competitive Climbing Team

Gavin Nix Comp TeamTell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Gavin Nix and I grew up in a small town in Cartersville, GA. I grew up with two brothers, and we quickly developed an appreciation for anything that involved a competition, or the outdoors. At the age of four, I was introduced to the world of wrestling and followed that passion for the next 15 years all the way to college. While wrestling remained my primary focus, visiting family in Park City, Utah, initially sparked my interest in climbing, mountain biking and a deep love for the outdoors. 

Eventually life led me to a military career as a Reconnaissance Marine. An injury that led to a bone infection with severe complications brought my military career to a sudden halt and eventually led to a below-the-knee amputation of my right leg in March of 2022. A month after surgery I curiously wandered into a climbing gym unknowingly searching for a new challenge. Upon getting on the wall, climbing instantly felt more natural than walking on my new prosthetic. I immediately fell in love with the sense of adventure that climbing once again brought me, and then Jono Lewis, the Mesa Rim Adaptive Team Coach, luckily happened to be climbing at that time and quickly felt the presence of a fellow one-legged climber. He promptly invited me to join the weekly team practices where I immersed myself into the adaptive climbing community.

How long have you been climbing for? When you began, did you anticipate competing?

I first began climbing in the early summer of 2022, about a month and a half after losing my leg. I initially had no aspirations of competing; however, that mindset quickly changed. Once I started improving and getting better, my competitiveness that I had gained from wrestling since I was 4 years old quickly started to come out. I pretty quickly decided that I would set my sights on competing at nationals and devote my time and efforts towards being the best I could be!

What has your experience climbing on a team been like?

Climbing on a team has been the main reason I’m at the level I am today. When you’re trying to motivate yourself and push yourself past your limits, it’s hard to do that when you’re all alone and nobody around you has the same goals in mind. However, when you’re surrounded by like-minded people with the same goals as you, it’s amazing how your mindset changes and all the pieces start falling into place when you are all training together!

Gavin Nix Comp Team

Villars (SUI), 24 June 2023: competes in the Lead Final during the 2023 Paraclimbing World Cup in Villars (SUI).
© Jan Virt / IFSC

You did the full European competition circuit, correct? What was that experience like? How did it differ (if at all) from competing in the states?

Yes, I was in Europe this past summer from early June until mid August! It was a wonderful time spent with wonderful people but, wow, was it tiring! As far as the competitions went, the atmosphere at the competitions in Europe were definitely more electric. Unlike here in Salt Lake City, all the competitions were at the same venue, so there were much bigger crowds, louder music, and it all just made it slightly more intimidating but also exciting. It definitely gave me more energy and more motivation to go out there and do my thing at the highest level possible.

Did you have a favorite part of competing this season? If so, what was it?

Of course, my favorite part of the season has to be winning the silver medal in Villars, Switzerland. Coming into the World Cup season I really had no clue what my goals were, or how strong I was compared to my competition. Then at the first two World Cups I was only one or two spots out from finals, and I knew I could make it. Finally, in Villars, I qualified for finals, which was my initial goal once we headed to Europe after the Salt Lake City World Cup. Once I had qualified for finals, I didn’t put any pressure on myself and just told myself I had nothing to lose. Luckily it worked out in my favor and I came back home with a silver medal! Oh and all of the pizza and gelato in Europe is well worth the extra climbing weight!

Gavin/Tanner's kittensWhat’s next for you? Do you plan to compete again next year?

Once I returned home from a LONG summer in Europe, I started school at the University of Utah. I am getting my B.S in Kinesiology and then I hope to pursue my Masters in Prosthetics and Orthotics after that! While I’m back in school as a full time student, I’m still training hard and feeling stronger than ever…..much thanks to my new roommate, and fellow teammate, Tanner Cislaw. While I may be too busy to do the whole World Cup Circuit again this summer, I fully plan on competing at Nationals and hopefully qualifying for the World Cup in Salt Lake again!

Anything else you’d like to share!

Tanner and I got two kittens recently and I love them so much and they are so cute. We are training them to become the world’s first climbing kittens to solo El Cap (get outta the way Alex). We have started giving them belay lessons and hope to have them belay certified by early 2024. While this will not help them in their eventual goal, it is a necessary step to further their training, as well as to develop their climbing skills. Stay tuned for cute kitty adventures in the near future!

Want to support our climbing team for the 2024 Competition season?  You can donate directly to the team here!  If you have questions, or are interested in donating in-kinds to our team, please reach out to us at

Photo Descriptions:

Photo 1: Gavin climbing on a route during his time in Europe.  He is on an overhung wall campusing the section (he is climbing using his arms but not his legs).  The route consits of large, green holds and black volumes.  Gavin is wearing a white, USA climbing tank top, black shorts, and an orange harness and chalk bag.  The climbing wall is outside and trees can be seen in the background.  Photo by Jan Virt (@janvirtphotography)

Photo 2: Another photo of Gavin climbing in Europe.  He is midway up the climb and approaching an overhung section of the wall.  His arms are outstretched in front of him as he grabs two, large green holds and he has a high left foot as he looks up towards his next move.  Trees can be seen in the background.  Photo by Jan Virt (@janvirtphotography)

Photo 3: Gavin is posing for a photo with two other climbers at the Villars IFSC Paraclimbing World Cup, they are all smiling at the camera with their arms around each other.  He is wearing his silver medal and holding a trophy.  Photo by Jan Virt (@janvirtphotography)

Photo 4: Gavin and Tanner’s new kittens!  They are cuddled up on a green chair together sleeping.  Both kittens are a combination of black, white and orange.