As Executive Director, Dave works collaboratively with the board of directors and staff to achieve the overall strategic and operational goals of the organization.
Dave was introduced to Paradox Sports as a volunteer on a local climbing program. Inspired by the mission and community, Dave joined the board of directors. After four years of serving as board chair, Dave joins the Paradox Sports team with decades of non-profit leadership experience.
Dave began his career with Outward Bound, ultimately working for fourteen years as an educator, staff trainer and program leader. Dave has served as Patagonia Program Director, Environmental Resource Director, Director of Programs and Safety and is a co-founder of Mountain Professionals, where he has served as lead guide for international expeditions around the globe. Most recently Dave served as an experiential education school leader and volunteer for local non-profits.
As a true believer in the transformative power of being outside, you can find Dave climbing, biking, hiking or skiing on as many days as possible!
Born and raised in San Jose, CA, Becky moved to Colorado in 2004 to attend University of Colorado – Boulder. While in college, she met her future husband and upon graduation moved to Philadelphia where she worked as a preschool teacher and then a house manager for six years. The pull of Boulder proved to be too strong and in 2016, she moved back and got involved with Paradox Sports playing a key role in the first annual Base Camp Breakfast in 2016.
Together with her husband, Becky has a daughter, Rose, a golden retriever, Charlie, and two cats, Eliko and Rasputin. In her spare time she enjoys running, listening to true crime podcasts, and photography.
You can contact Becky directly at email@example.com
Nate McKenzie is a climbing guide based in Connecticut where he runs a monthly adaptive climbing night. Nate served on the Paradox Sports Board of Directors from 2014 to 2019 and has been Paradox Sports’ Lead Guide, helping to coordinate and guide Paradox Sports rock and ice climbing trips since 2009, including in the Gunks, North Conway, Joshua Tree and Red River Gorge. Nate contributed his expertise to Paradox’s Adaptive Climbing handbook and now leads Adaptive Climbing Initiative courses from coast to coast.
Born in northern Idaho and raised in the Reno / Lake Tahoe area of Nevada, Sam has always had a love for playing outdoors, particularly in the mountains. He grew up snowboarding and racing mountain bikes, and after moving to Colorado in 2006, began hiking and climbing CO’s 14ers which eventually led to him finding his ultimate love of rock, ice and alpine climbing in 2013. When he isn’t guiding rock and ice in the Front Range, you can likely find him romping in the mountains around the western United States. Some of his favorite areas include the peaks of the Alaska Range, Pacific Northwest, Grand Teton and Rocky Mountain National Parks, Red Rock NV, Ouray CO, and our hometown playground of Eldorado Canyon State Park.
After stumbling across a Front Range Adaptive Climbing Club (FRACC) night at a local climbing gym, Sam began volunteering with Paradox Sports in 2015, and has been a passionate supporter of the organization, and adaptive climbing in general, since. He is a co-host of the annual fundraising party, Unleashed, which has raised nearly $10,000 for Paradox Sports and other climbing based non-profits over its lifetime. Sam has received training and certifications as an AMGA Single Pitch Instructor, as well as NOLS Wilderness First Aid and he is looking forward to furthering his education and earning more credentials in both the climbing and wilderness medical fields.
Sam also works as an Adaptive Climbing Initiative Lead Instructor and is the Team Manager for the Paradox Sports Competitive Adaptive Climbing Team.
As someone who was raised in Colorado, Brittany has developed a deep appreciation for the outdoors and the positive impact time spent outdoors can have on people. Having worked in the outdoor industry, Brittany enjoys sharing her love of the outdoors with others at every opportunity. While attending CU Boulder, she volunteered with the National Sports Center for the Disabled, where she developed an interest in adaptive sports. Upon graduating, Brittany has held jobs as outdoor programs director, high school English teacher in rural Thailand and as a paraeducator. As an educator and climber for ten years, Brittany has a strong mission connection and currently serves as Operations & Marketing Manager for Paradox Sports. While not climbing, you can find her playing soccer, hiking 14ers and traveling.
You can contact Brittany directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Gary began sharing his passion for adventure as a guide over 20 years ago. Guiding throughout North and South America, he has taught rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, tree climbing, caving, mountain biking, kayaking, and leadership development to a wide variety of audiences ranging from at-risk youth, people with disabilities, veterans, and business leaders.
Gary is an advocate for equal access for all and enjoys working with participants regardless of whether it is their first time climbing or they are climbing El Capitan in Yosemite. In his free time, he enjoys designing and innovating technique and gear to improve access as well as planning expeditions for people with disabilities. Gary truly believe what he does, while not therapy, is therapeutic. His favorite weekend of the year is the annual Paradox North Conway Ice Climbing trip.
When not in the field, he enjoys traveling with his wife and twin toddlers, as they learn all of the benefits of leading an active outdoor lifestyle.
Andy began his involvement with Paradox Sports in 2013 with a fundraising initiative. Since then, Andy has volunteered each year at the Paradox Rocks program in the Gunks and the Paradox Ice program in New Hampshire, coordinated the first adaptive climbing academic course at Garrett College and joined the Adaptive Climbing Initiative as a course instructor in 2018.
A former professor at the Adventuresports Institute of Garrett College, Andy is now Program Coordinator and Lecturer in the Adventure Sports Management program at nearby Frostburg State University in Western Maryland. Andy’s career has included field, classroom and administrative positions working with a variety of populations in the outdoor industry and he has spent time as a backcountry ranger in Yosemite National Park, as a Program Coordinator at the Yellow Breeches Educational Center and as a guide and instructor at a variety of outdoor programs and guide services. In addition to his role at Frostburg, Andy is also a partner at North Fork Adventures LLC and Seneca Rocks Mountain Guides.
Andy resides with his wife and two children in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and the family spends their summers living and working in Seneca Rocks, WV.
Jillian is a competitive rock climber and coach based out of San Diego, California. Growing up at the base of the Appalachian mountains she has always used outdoor recreation as a means for personal growth and exploration. After moving to California she narrowed her focus in on climbing. With San Diego’s large medical needs community, Jillian found it important to provide access to climbing for those with chronic medical conditions. Shortly thereafter, she began an adaptive rock climbing program at San Diego based climbing center Mesa Rim. A few months after program inception, Jillian was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Following a year of aggressive medical treatment Jillian saw how destructive the western approach to disease can be. She then set out to work with the medical community to embrace athletics and the outdoors as a supplement to traditional treatment modalities. Throughout this process, Jillian has traveled throughout the US and Europe advocating for the importance of inclusive climbing.
Jillian now works with individuals, groups, and organizations to put together athletic programming to serve the specific needs of their community. She presented at the Climbing Wall Summit in May 2018 on Adaptive Climbing and joined the Paradox ACI Course Instructor team in August 2018 to continue to educate and expand the climbing community nationally.
Peter is a Colorado based climbing instructor who spends much of his personal and professional time sharing the outdoors with others. Peter found climbing early in life while growing up in Colorado. He has seen how the skills, relationships and attitudes learned while on the rock have enriched his life, and can be transferred to help navigate life’s challenges. These experiences have led to a passion for fostering equity and belonging in outdoor and vertical spaces. Peter graduated from Prescott College in 2011 with a BA in Adventure Education. He is a certified Single Pitch Instructor, Apprentice Rock Guide and Wilderness First Responder. Outside his professional roles, Peter spends much of his time volunteering with organizations committed to building and preserving equitable access to the outdoors.
Born in Houston, Texas, Parker (he/him) first learned to rock climb and first heard about Paradox Sports while attending Colorado College in Colorado Springs, CO. Graduate school took Parker to California for a couple of years, yet Parker was able to move back to the Front Range with his now wife in the summer of 2018 and started volunteering for community nights.
Even though Parker enjoys spending his days trying to build 6th graders into decent human beings as an English Language Arts teacher, it was the 2019 trips to Ouray and Shelf Road with Paradox that inspired Parker to recertify his then expired NOLS Wilderness First Responder and pursue his AMGA Single Pitch Instructor certification. When not teaching in the classroom, guiding or instructing for Paradox, or eating breakfast burritos, Parker most enjoys long dog walks around Denver’s City Park with his wife.
Informed by her roots in the Southeast, an appreciation of her identity as a mixed race woman of color, and nearly a decade of work in climbing, Azissa endeavors to use the transformative power of the outdoors and climbing to inspire curiosity and community. Azissa is an AMGA-certified Climbing Wall and Single Pitch Instructor, as well as Rock Guide. She is also an Assistant Provider for the Single Pitch Instructor Program.
Ryan, “Shipp” as his friends refer to him, started climbing in 2001 at the age of 21. He instantly fell in love with both climbing as well as the community, and the sport has been a driving force in his life since.
Shipp is from South Central Pennsylvania and loves traveling the world for those dream climbs and destinations. He started out his career as an indoor climbing instructor at the Climbnasium and quickly worked into the adventure travel summer camps scene as both a Guide and Course Director in the Pacific Northwest with Longacre Expeditions. For 16 years, Shipp was an Instructor and Coordinator at Yellow Breeches Educational Center, an adventure-based special education youth private school. He founded South Central Pennsylvania Climbers in 2015 and is currently the President of the non-profit volunteer powered Local Climbing Organization. In 2021, he pursued a dream of starting his own private guiding service and founded Levitation Climbing. Shipp’s climbing specific certifications consist of AMGA Climbing Wall Instructor Provider, AMGA Single Pitch Instructor, and AMGA Multi-Pitch Instructor. He consistently strives to learn more, develop personally and professionally, and is working towards his AMGA Rock Guide Certification.
Shipp wants to share the sport of climbing with everyone and believes in Paradox’s Mission to make the sport accessible to all.
Tanner grew up in the front range of Colorado after his family moved from California in 2000. He grew up climbing in Morrison, on North Table, and in Turkey rocks as well as all across the front range. The summer before high school Tanner took a fall in Morrison while bouldering and broke his tibia and fibula. Later, after high school he joined The United States Marine Corps. Due to trauma in the Marines and his original fracture he had his leg amputated due to chronic pain, limited mobility and restricted quality of life. Tanner’s amputation was one of the best decisions he has made. It brought climbing back into his main focus and allowed him to be outside more without pain. This led to Tanner finding Paradox Sports. In May 2021, five months after his amputation, he was in Shelf Road climbing with Paradox. There he found his community. Tanner has competed at one Paraclimbing Nationals and World Cup, he gained his AMGA SPI, and is a coach for youth climbers with disabilities. Tanner believes education is the path to a more inclusive outdoors and Paradox is doing just that.
Natasha believes in the power of climbing to change ourselves and the world. She is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist with 10+ years of experience, focusing on veterans with invisible injuries. She is also an avid climber with a lifetime of experience – climbing anything and everything as a kid to now facilitating rock and ice climbing programs for people of all abilities.
She is now pursuing her passion for using outdoor recreation to support wellness and health of the whole person. In her spare time, she loves painting, running, and practicing yoga (especially with her two dogs).
Born in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico and raised in Connecticut, Carlos competes in the AL-1 classification and has been climbing since 2014. He was introduced to rock climbing through a local clinic put on by Nate McKenzie and competed at his first US Paraclimbing Nationals in 2018. In 2022, Carlos had the highlight of his competitive career when he placed first at the US Paraclimbing National Championships held in Birmingham, AL and placed 4th at the IFSC World Cup in Salt Lake City, UT. When he’s not climbing, Carlos spends time playing wheelchair basketball for the Connecticut Spokebenders, working full time at Hospital for Special Care in New Britain, CT, and cuddling his dog Winter.
Carlos has competed in the following International Competitions:
2018 IFSC Paraclimbing World Championships – Innsbruck, Austria
2019 IFSC Paraclimbing World Championships – Briancon, France
2021 IFSC Paraclimbing World Cup – Los Angeles, CA
2022 IFSC Paraclimbing World Cup – Salt Lake City, UT
Nat Vorel is a walking paraplegic from Oklahoma City, OK. Almost three years ago, Nat took a 30 foot groundfall, breaking multiple vertebrae as well as a wrist. Nat quickly got back into climbing after relearning how to walk, and has been training hard ever since. This is Nat’s second year competing in paraclimbing competitions, earning a first place finish in RP3 at USAC Nationals last year, as well as a fourth place finish at the SLC World Cup in May. In addition to competing, Nat also is a Level 1 Certified Routesetter and works professionally as a setter for Summit Climbing Gyms. Nat is working toward earning a Single Pitch Instructor Certification with the AMGA.
Lindsay grew up in Kingwood, Texas spending all her free time playing soccer around the state. While attending The University of Oklahoma, she missed competing in athletics and walked on to the OU Women’s Rowing team and won a Big 12 Gold medal in her first year competing. With all the stress of college and rowing she noticed a decline in her body’s strength, was forced to quit rowing, and finally got the diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) at age 21.
At age 34, Lindsay is looking at competing in her second US Nationals. Lindsay’s first climbing competition ever was Nationals in 2022, and she competed just 8 months after having her first child. She also competed in two world cup events in 2022. With the crash course knowledge she gained from last years Paraclimbing circuit, she has trained harder and is ready to see if she can snag a podium spot in this year’s nationals and hopefully attend all of the world cups this year.
Lindsay has been married to her husband, Nick, for ten years and has a son and two dogs. She works full time, moms full time, and her hobby is climbing. She would not be this far in the Paraclimbing dream if it weren’t for the support of Nick, her family, and her climbing coach. Lindsay’s proudest moment was wearing her USA jersey at the world cup event and finally being able to represent her country.
Tanner grew up in Southern California playing soccer and bodysurfing, while participating in almost every sport and outdoor activity that one can imagine. In March of 2018, Tanner was involved in a hiking accident which resulted in a T-10 spinal cord injury and lower-body paralysis. During his physical rehabilitation, per the recommendation of his PT, Tanner was encouraged to try paraclimbing for the first time at 5 months post-injury. Soon after, he attended two Paradox Sports adaptive climbing clinics which gave him the confidence and drive to pursue a competitive outlet. Within his first year of recovery, Tanner competed and won his first national title in Columbus, Ohio in 2019.
Almost 5 years later, Tanner has been on the podium at two World Championships and one World Cup, and won two U.S. national championships in the seated category. With this year’s international circuit coming up this summer, Tanner’s goal is to earn his first gold medal on the world stage. While in Europe, Tanner plans to push his personal boundaries by working on a number of outdoor projects that will redefine what seated climbers can do.
Tanner recently moved to Salt Lake City, Utah to train consistently at USA Climbing’s Training Center and put time into outdoor projects that are more conducive to his style of climbing.
Growing up in the small town of Cartersville, Georgia with two brothers, Gavin developed an appreciation for anything that involved a competition, or the outdoors. At the age of four, he was introduced to the world of wrestling and followed that passion for the next 15 years all the way to college, giving him his tenacious, competitive personality. While wrestling remained his primary athletic focus, visiting family in Park City, Utah, sparked his interest in climbing, mountain biking and a deep love for the outdoors.
Eventually life led Gavin to a military career as a Reconnaissance Marine. Despite his stubborn efforts, an injury that led to a bone infection with severe complications brought his military career to a sudden halt. Following below-the-knee amputation of his right leg in March of 2022, Gavin 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 his new prosthetic. He immediately fell in love with the sense of adventure that climbing once again brought him. Jono Lewis, the Mesa Rim Adaptive Team Coach, happened to be climbing at that time and quickly felt the presence of a fellow one-legged climber. He promptly invited Gavin to join the weekly team practices where he immersed himself into the adaptive climbing community. Gavin is currently helping coach the Mesa Rim Adaptive Team and is excited to compete at the 2023 Paraclimbing Nationals while striving to share his passion and build the sport.
Carlie grew up in Michigan but currently lives in Western Massachusetts. Carlie has always been active and loved sports. As a young child, she participated in the family sport of figure skating, but after sustaining a spinal cord injury at the age of 3.5, she remained active and got involved with adaptive sports. Over the years, Carlie participated in many adaptive sports, including collegiate wheelchair basketball for the Univerisity of Illinois. After graduating from college, Carlie attended an adaptive climbing clinic in Chicago and instantly fell in love with the sport and hasn’t looked back.
In 2017, Carlie got involved in the competitive side of adaptive climbing when she attended her first Nationals in Boston. After Carlie competed in just one competition, she fell in love with the challenge of competitive climbing and the community that came with the sport. Since Boston, Carlie has had the following Paraclimbing competitive experiences:
-5 USA Paraclimbing National Championships
-2 World Championships (Innsbruck, Austria 2018 and Briancon, France 2019)
-2 World Cups (Los Angeles, California 2021 and Salt Lake City, Utah 2022)
When Carlie is not climbing, you can find her spending time with her family, working as a Child Life Specialist in a Pediatric ER, and trying new coffee places.
When Jessica was only four months old, she was dropped of at an orphanage in South Korea due to a tumor in her leg, leading its amputation. Sporte had a new beginning when she was adopted by a family in Michigan. Growing up with 8 siblings taught Jessica that, although one could make up many excuses for not doing something, having one leg was not a good enough excuse to get out of chores. And if she could do chores, she could also play sports.
Jessica traveled the U.S. competing in wheelchair tennis, earning a career high of 2nd in the nation and 59th in the world. She also participated in wheelchair basketball, sled hockey, and downhill skiing. In 2012, long ski runs enticed her to move to Colorado. However, it wasn’t until 2015 that she participated in an Adaptive Climbing Club night and was introduced to Paradox Sports. Since that night, Jessica has missed few club nights and instead competed at three paraclimbing Nationals and a World Championship, and is a Paradox Sports Ambassador. Jess has a degree in Recreational Management and began working with Paradox Sports in the summer of 2018 as a Program Lead.
Besides sports, Jessica also enjoys reading, DIY projects and crafts such as knitting, card making, and origami.
When Vasu was only nine months old, he was diagnosed with septicemia, resulting in the amputation of one of his legs. Since then, Vasu has not looked back; with the help of his parents, brother, and friends, Vasu has built up the confidence needed to face new challenges with grace, courage, strength, humor, and unwavering determination.
Vasu witnessed extreme poverty growing up in India, and has been living most of his life with a “dis”ability. He looks at these experiences as a blessing; they have both allowed him to truly hone in on his ability to empathize with others. He continues to strengthen this muscle by pursuing his passion of helping others through his work in advocacy for those who face mental and physical limitations.
While going to school back on the East Coast at the University of Vermont, Vasu was contacted by Paradox Sports trainer and Board Member Nate McKenzie and invited to join the North Conway ice climbing event. That sparked a new relationship with Paradox. Once Vasu moved from Vermont to Montana, he attended another Paradox Sports trips – to climb the Grand Teton in the Fall of 2014. A short documentary, “A Grand Pursuit” about the trip was produced with the help of Will Strathmann in the Summer of 2015. This depicted the journey and the accomplishment of the group as well as a first ascent on crutches by Vasu.
During the winter following the Grand Teton trip in 2014, Vasu was featured in his first short documentary, “Out on a Limb”, depicting the challenges and innovations needed to follow his passion, skiing. “Out on a Limb” gained major coverage in the outdoor industry by being featured in the 2014-15 Banff Mountain Film Festival, Telluride Mountainfilm, and many more. This gave Vasu the opportunity to voice his mission to thousands of people worldwide. It didn’t stop there though. As the film gained more publicity, Vasu was able to sign on with several outdoor brands as an athlete and ambassador: Darn Tough Socks, Deuter/Ortovox, DPS Skis, Dynafit, Julbo Eyewear, Kate’s Real Food, and Paradox Sports.
With their help and many others, Vasu continues to inspire others to be a positive influence in their own communities by pushing personal limits, putting others first, and encouraging people to believe in themselves and in their own unique abilities!
A native Vermonter and former bike and ski racer, Dan was involved in a bike accident that left him with a paralyzed right arm and other injuries. After moving to Colorado in August of 2013, Dan connected Paradox Sports in June 2014 and joined us for our ascent of the Grand Teton in September 2014, which was featured in the short documentary “A Grand Pursuit”. Always at home in the mountains, Dan can be found skiing, hiking, and climbing with friends when ever possible. Dan has an affinity for multi pitch slab climbing and is a “stalwart” of the Front Range Adaptive Climbing Club. As an ambassador he looks forward to helping introduce and share with other all the great things he has experienced and gained since becoming a member of Paradox Sports.
Aika is a native of Japan and currently resides in Indianapolis, IN. She loves outdoor activities and promotes health/wellness as a physical therapist. She has been rock climbing at Red River Gorge, KY for over 10 years. In summer of 2013, Aika fell on her head while practicing acrobatic yoga, which resulted in incomplete spinal cord injury at C6 with quadriparesis (weakness affecting all four limbs). She has used her love of climbing to re-connect with her body to find her new “normal self”. She has surrounded herself with like-minded people at Paradox Sports during her recovery to remind herself that she does not have to give up on her passion despite her limitations. Aika now has started Indiana’s first official adaptive climbing group to share her love of climbing with ALL people. She is also the 2016 Japanese Paraclimbing Champion and continues to push herself to higher level as an adaptive athlete.
Enock grew up in Patten, a small town in northern Maine, and now resides in Bethel, Maine. As a child with Spina Bifida, Enock had to learn to do things differently than others but with the use of adaptive equipment and help from friends and family, he has had a very full life.
He has had the opportunity to experience a lot of things that people with two working legs may not even try. Enock is an avid rock climber and skier, as well as active in many other sports including tennis, basketball, paragliding and skydiving. Through an internship related to his studies in computer science he was able to travel across the United States in 2016 and visit some of our most cherished outdoor spaces including many national parks. He culminated his internship experience in California with a 5 day ascent of “Zodiac” on El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, which was filmed by Craig Muderlak for a movie to be released in Spring 2017.
Despite what some may call a setback in life he has made it his mission to inspire others to get out and try things and experience as much in life as they possibly can. All of his adventures can be followed at his blog: www.gobeyondthefence.com
Born and raised in the midwest James is a USMC veteran who moved to Colorado after graduating college to pursue mountain sports including climbing. Shortly after moving he was involved in a train on cycle incident which result in the amputation of his right foot in 2014 .
James started at a rehab program before starting to walk and through contacts there he began climbing with the Front Range Adaptive Climbing Club and Paradox Sports. Still fairly new to the adaptive climbing scene, James earned a spot at Nationals in Atlanta to climb on the 2016 US Climbing Team in Paris, his first international competition!
James predominantly climbs in the Golden & Boulder areas of Colorado; however, also enjoys climbing in the Vail and Ouray areas, Utah, Wyoming, and Fontainebleau. His other hobbies include camping, backpacking, cycling, Mtn biking, snowboarding, fishing, and just being in the backcountry in general.
Trevor Smith has been a Colorado native his whole life. His inspiration to get into rock climbing came with being near the climbing mecca that is Boulder. When Trevor and his family would drive up Boulder Canyon, he would sit there in awe over the massive walls that people were scaling on every corner. This inspired him to push his own limits and start climbing in the Winter of 2015. Soon after, he met Paradox and his adventures began. When he was growing up, he would play soccer and basketball but, Trevor never felt fully satisfied with what he was doing. Trevor wanted to be great at something and climbing gave him the opportunity to achieve his goal. In the 2018 Paraclimbing World Championship, he placed 2nd in his category. This was his 2nd competition, the first being nationals a few months earlier, that he had ever competed in. At age 17, Trevor is the youngest climber to join the Paradox Sports Ambassador Team!
“Climbing has taught me so much about myself. I’ve learned that anything is possible with the right mindset and determination. I’ve learned that there will always be someone better, faster, and stronger than you so, you have to push yourself if you want to succeed on world level stage. And most importantly, I’ve learned that climbing is a lifestyle. It is more than just an activity that people compete in or do on the weekends. It is a tightly knit community that respects everyone within it and wants to see everyone succeed. I want to be a part of that community. I want to develop our community and show to everyone that our sport is lifelong activity.”
Trevor has been climbing with Paradox since 2016 and plans on many years more to come! You can follow Trevor along his journey on his Instagram account: @trevor_jsmith
Born at 24 weeks, Esha has been blind since birth and doctors were fairly certain she would not survive. Family even came from India to visit her in America because they weren’t sure if they wouldn’t get another chance! She was able to fit in her parents’ hand from head to toe. She likes to say that this was the only time she has been early for anything! As a child, due to being first generation from India, her parents struggled to find resources for her to embrace and function as a blind person. Because of situations out of her control, she was forced to act sighted and hide her blindness. Esha did not embrace her blindness until she was 19, when she sought Independence Training at the Colorado Center for the Blind, where she learned skills to become independent, gained confidence, and learned that she is capable of being a contributing member of society. This was where she met positive blind role-models and realized her dreams were absolutely reachable. This is also where Esha rock climbed for the very first time and fell in love with the sport, though she fell away from the sport due to a college and dealing with mental health issues.
In 2015, Esha’s life was forever changed when a friend told her about Paradox Sports in Boulder, Colorado. She went to a club night and instantly reinvigorated her passion and love for climbing. A friend encouraged her to join the competitive team, so in March of 2015, she did. That July, she was invited to compete at the national level. Since then, competing has been a huge love of hers. “I love climbing, whether it is competitively or leisurely,” she says. Competing has helped her grow her confidence and has helped her tremendously as she begins recovering from her mental illnesses.
“I view climbing as a metaphor for life. On a difficult route, it may take a few tries before you can reach the top. Every time you keep pushing yourself on this route, you get further and further. This is how I view life. I have had tremendous amount of challenges and hardships, but each time I keep pushing forward, I get higher than I did before. Life isn’t about ascending to the top, but about all the holds and moves in between.”
Officially Adam began climbing in New Jersey back in 1994. He had just graduated university (Boston University) and was working at Campmor Retail in order to get off his parent’s couch and because he loved the outdoor goods they sold. Campmor had a relationship with a startup climbing gym so he bought a harness and shoes, found a partner and went climbing. After a few months his partner was less dependable, he got hired by the AmeriCorps, left Campmor to start this new chapter in life, and put climbing on the back-burner for a while.
In 1997 Adam was temporarily blindsided by a diagnosis of Ataxia – a rare, incurable disease that affects speech, balance and coordination. He says temporarily because by summer 2012 after a fifteen year hiatus he was climbing again with the Adaptive Climbing Group in Brooklyn, NY. He started climbing with Paradox Sports later that year, after meeting Timmy O’Neill on a trip to the Gunks. Since then climbing and competing has become his life. He trains up to 4 days per week. He has also entered into at least 7 judged competitions and been to World’s at least three times. Since 2012, Adam has joined more Paradox Sports trips all over the country than anyone else – to rock climb in the Gunks and Joshua Tree, and ice climb in North Conway and Ouray.
Born in Puerto Rico, Carlos’ spinal cord injury was the result of removing a tumor from his spinal cord. Moving to Connecticut a few years later, his doctors introduced him to wheelchair track which later led to participation in other sports such as wheelchair basketball and tennis.
In 2014 he was introduced to rock climbing through a local clinic put on by Nate Mckenzie and he has been hooked ever since. Currently, Carlos has been participating in competitive Paraclimbing at the national and international level as part of team USA. His goal is to help keep the sport growing and to get as many people as possible to give rock climbing a try at least once.