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General Climbing Discussion

Helping a paraplegic guy go climbing around Syd.
7:03:15 PM
Hi guys,
Bit of a different one. A mate of my brother's is a paraplegic but a really active guy. He's keen to try climbing...somehow. He's got a harness and has tried to go to a few gyms but apparently they won't let him climb for insurance reasons (not sure of the details here).

It seems like it could be quite a challenge to go climbing without using your legs, but hey, climbers are all about contrived challenges, so it can probably be done. Also strikes me that indoor, potentially on steepish stuff with big holds, might be the best way to go.

But I'm also thinking there might be some way of taking him outdoors, which could be a pretty cool challenge just to come up with somewhere that would work for this kind of thing. I imagine he could go abseiling but as I understand it, he's more keen on climbing

I'm in Adelaide otherwise I'd have a crack at it myself, but just thought I'd see if:

a) anyone knows any gyms around sydney that'd definitely be cool with him climbing there
b)anyone's done any outdoor activities of this type around the blueies/sydney...maybe a cool tyrolean at hanging rock, or can thinking of somewhere there might be really easy climbing with big, closely spaced holds (I've climbed a bunch in the blueies and nothing springs to mind - the eyrie maybe...?)
c)anyone keen in helping our arrange this kind of thing?

Could be a pretty fun kind of challenge methinks for a couple of people to get together and have a go at.

7:59:12 PM
My first thought is that steep or overhanging stuff would be very difficult or even impossible unless the guy has insane upper body strength or you were able to provide some sort of mechanical advantage - that may rule out climbing in a gym.

Just musing here, but I would have thought that outdoor easy slab climbing would have a reasonable chance of working? You may be able to strap his legs together into some sort of frame - a bit like a paraplegic skier - and have him use the edges of the frame to gain some purchase on footholds. A bespoke frame may need to be designed and constructed. You could always set up a mechanical advantage at the top of the route to assist in pulling him up if he got stuck? The slabiness would also mean that there would be more chance of good rests etc. I've never been there, and it might be too far, but isn't Booroomba fairly slabby?

I once took a blind guy scuba diving ... I was amazed that he would bother when i first heard about it ... I mean diving is a pretty visual activity ... but I was even more surprised about how much he got out of it, touching stuff and hearing some minor sounds. Bloody ballsy by him too. Good luck to your brothers mate - I am sure that some form of climbing will be possible and satisfying.

8:01:57 PM
Certainly posible:

That guy doesn't seem particularly tank either.
Good luck!
8:07:30 PM
Name and shame the gyms.

To the other poster, most paraplegics do have insane upper body strenghth.

8:34:53 PM
On 12/12/2012 widewetandslippery wrote:
>Name and shame the gyms.


Maybe things have changed, but when I worked at a gym we had various groups with limited and even no mobility come through.
Dr Nick
8:57:35 PM
*Many* years ago there was a paraplegic bloke having fun at The Climbing Centre in Penrith. Very little in the way of leg mass and a seriously developed upper body from wheeling himself around meant he could campus some pretty impressive stuff.

I'd try giving them a call and checking if they're still cool with it, but I'm surprised anyone said no. It may be concerns over impacts and possibly flipping upside down. A sling as a chest harness would resolve the second point.

Getting outdoors would be tricky simply because of access. I'm sure it can be done, but I'd be trying a few more gyms first to see if he really likes it. If he does, ask again and I'm sure someone can suggest a good steep and juggy route. With a bit of assistance for the start Ladder of Gloom at Berowra could be fun, and the 20 inside the cave of Soap would probably go as well.
mr poo
9:13:53 PM
Call Sydney Indoor Climbing Gym Villawood.
(02) 9728 2825

Maybe they would be ok with it, they are climbers that run the place so who knows.
7:10:32 AM
Maybe contact Andy Kirkpatrick on his blog. I think he has been up El Cap with his paraplegic GF. From memory a couple of Aussie girls (Gemma and Tash?) might have also been in the party. I think they do a bit of guiding in the bluies so could be in a position to help you out.

3:25:34 PM
My best mates GF has lost one arm above the elbow, I wanna take her climbing too, one of these days I'll convince her she can do it! If there is anything a bloke in Melbourne can do to assist then PM me.
5:40:06 PM
Ambyeok, seems simple, make sure he can belay and climb as a 3? Especially slabby stuff which is more feet-oriented anyway, I can't see it being an issue.
5:44:34 PM
Here is the full trip report for the paraplegic ascent of half-dome by Sean O'Neill and his less famous brother Timmy. If your friend wants to get out there and find the exposure, aiding may be the way forward. Hope this gives you some ideas and inspiration.

Don't forget the video at the bottom. Super cool.
Access T CliffCare
5:45:00 PM
I regularly come across grants that help fund projects with a focus on encouraging people with some kind of disability to get involved. Often to do with sports and recreation. So far I haven't had a project in mind that would be suitable but if there is anyone out there that would be interested in getting something like this up and running and working with the VCC, it could very well become a reality. So, - if so, drop me a line, we can talk and see what might be possible and then be prepared for when grants come up. Generally there is about a month or so from when a grant is announced to when you need to have it submitted so preparedness is crucial.


7:05:04 PM
Paul Pritchard video is pretty inspirational too in regards to climbing with a disability

salty crag
10:19:12 PM
1:45:22 PM
get a couple of mates to help him campus the roof at Bangor West - though getting him down the access gully may be a bit tricky.
That's your best bet & he's bound to love it; if not be able to get all the way across the roof - a well set up belay system should see him have some fun.
The other side of that boulder has a couple of quite easy (14s) routes that may be top-ropeable.

I imagine if he's wheelchair based his upper body strength would be far above your average gym climber!

There are 15 messages in this topic.


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