The thing about the adaptive climbing community is that we tend to come from all over the world. On the one hand, that’s comforting: I can go to so many places, and I can find a friend. On the other hand, that’s daunting: Connecting with my community usually means a fair amount of travel, and all of the costs and logistics associated with it.
In April of 2022, on a whim, I took my first Paradox Sports trip for a few days of climbing at Shelf Road. Outside of program manager Sam Sala, who co-led an Adaptive Climbing Initiative course at The Front Climbing Club (where I now help run an adaptive program), I was going to meet total strangers. I left my home outside of Salt Lake City, went up and over Vail Pass and down into crag after crag of sweet limestone bliss.
After working wonky legs up the steep approaches, scraping my fingers raw on sharp limestone, and belting out some serious Alanis Morissette during camp karaoke, I left having turned “complete strangers” into lifelong friends. (Got Stump Award winner Erich Meinig and blind-climber badass Trevor Hahn continually hatch plans with me to climb together, for instance.) I knew that I needed to be close to these folks. To do that, I needed to travel far.
Just a few months after that initial trip, I took part in an outdoor Adaptive Climbing Initiative course to learn from Sam in an outdoor setting. It was there that I met another close friend, Dave Egan. Dave is a regular feature of many adaptive climbing events, helping to instruct and lend an expert’s hand at a moment’s notice.
So, when I learned that Sam, Trevor, Erich, Dave and many others I call close friends were headed to the Bozeman Ice Fest in December of 2022, my brain started bubbling with excitement. Not only did I want to reconnect with my community, I wanted to observe how the adaptive ice climbing clinic was taught. Through my association with The Front’s adaptive program and other opportunities, I have begun teaching various clinics and helping other adaptive climbers find their passion and realize their potential. I’m pretty dang new to ice climbing myself, but I’m hooked and want to share that passion one day.
There was a fairly big obstacle, though. With a mortgage and plenty of bills, I was a little short on the money to make it happen.. I recently learned about Paradox’s Community Fund Grant from program manager Nate McKenzie, so I decided to apply. Bam! A few weeks later, Development and Communications Manager Becky Lindstrom informed me that I received the grant.
As you can see from my story, that’s one of several ways that Paradox Sports has connected me with my community and enabled me to pursue my passions. I’m grateful for the support.