Rock climbing involves climbing up flat rock faces, large boulders, or ice. Alpine climbing involves a combination of rock and glacier, while ascending a mountain. "Mountaineering" involves all types of climbing. All can be learned in rock climbing programs or at a climbing gym.
Climbers often use professional guiding services such as the Colorado Mountain School (CMS), to keep trips as safe as possible. Professional climbers at CMS teach student climbers all they know as they join them in rock, ice, or alpine climbing. CMS offers special programs that run from one to several days, or students can map out their own trip. Climbers can also elect to take special CMS guided trips through mountain ranges in different parts of the world.
The Climbing Community
Athletes with disabilities represent a strong presence in the rock climbing community. The scenic hills and mountains of the world are open to all. In Australia, one climber became a bilateral amputee after a boulder accident, but his peers still describe him as a great climber. He now uses prosthetic limbs. Another paraplegic Aussie uses ascenders by doing pull-ups. He has actually climbed Half Dome in Yosemite National Park—one of the great walls. When an approach becomes too difficult in a wheelchair, he rides on his partner's back. Now that’s "roughing it!”
National Sports Center for the Disabled's
Paul Di Bello, a bilateral amputee, teaches adapted rock climbing
to persons with blindness and visual impairments. Di Bello says
that rock climbing is a great vehicle for self-esteem because of
the buddy system involved, known as "belaying." Belaying
is an anchoring system performed by two people with anchoring ropes.
Each partner is essential to the other, communicating through verbal
cues. The sport builds confidence and develops personal
growth. As with Tim Ashwood, blind athletes develop "fear
control" as they conquer climbing.
Another, inspiring undertaking is the Annual
Denver Post Ride the Rockies, sponsored by the Adaptive Sports
Center and Adaptive Adventures. Each year numerous hand-cyclists
join up with approximately 2000 other cyclists to tour 432 miles
through the Colorado's Rocky Mountains! Support vehicles ride along
to keep the six-day trip safe while uplifting, along beautiful scenery.
Mark Wellman, a world-renown Paralympian,
has been a mountaineer since the age of 12. Wellman has ascended
over 50 Sierra Nevada peaks and the French Alps. Along with his
climbing partner, Mike Corbett, Wellman conquered Half Dome and
El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. A freak accident on his descent
of the Seven Gables in the John Muir Wilderness left him paralyzed
from the waist down in 1982, but it doesn't stop him from making
his ascent with only the strength of his arms and upper torso. Wellman
is also known for his extreme downhill skiing and white water kayaking
adventures. On dry land, Wellman conducts motivational speaking
throughout the U.S.
Rock climbers use ropes, rope ladders, repelling devices, anchors,
and chalk for hands. Ascendersmechanical devices allow ropes
to move in a single direction. For ice climbing, mountaineers use
plastic boots with warm inner linings, ice axes, and cramponsmetal
spikes that attach to boots for gripping. Climbers must make many
decisions about equipment as they make their way; they must match
the appropriate equipment with terrain. It's a good idea in the
beginning for newcomers to rent gear, before investing in their
own. That way, they can learn what's involved and decide whether
to make climbing a regular sport.
National Sports Center for the Disabled
Adaptive Sports Center
and Adaptive AdventuresRide the Rockies
The ultimate Climbing Portal for Climbers all over the world!! Rockclimbing.com
contains information on 2988 climbing areas in 91 countries and
all 50 states easily making it the largest climbing database on
the net! 14194 registered climbers have contributed 2218 photographs,
1199 links to other climbing websites, 57988 posts in 36 forums,
and account for about 32,500 page views per day!!
World-renown paralympian and motivational speaker
Rock & Ice
Shop for equipment, trade stories, go on trips, view photos, and
Adaptive Sports Center of Crested Butte
In summer and winter, skiing, snowboarding, white water rafting,
fly-fishing and horseback riding at the Adaptive Sports Center of
Crested Butte provides people of all abilities with terrific opportunities
for fun and friendship!
Splore Accessible Outdoor Adventures
Based in Utahrafting, skiing, rock climbing, canoeing, and
wilderness exploration. Awesome!
Note: Be sure to see Infinitec's Complete list of Adaptive
Sports Organizations: http://www.infinitec.org/play/sports/sportsorganizations.htm