These Adaptive Climbers are Heading to World Championships
If you've been following OutdoorFest for awhile, you'll know that one of our favorite NYC-based non-profits is the Adaptive Climbing Group. This group helps brings climbing to all people with disabilities and, this year, are sending an entire team of athletes to the World Championships (note: they need your help *and* you get an Adidas jacket if you donate more than $250).
We spoke to Whitney and Molly of the 2018 World Championships to find out more about why they love climbing and the community surrounding it.
MOLLY FERRIS | CHICAGO, IL
Climbing is the epitome of adaptive sports. For able bodied and adaptive folks alike, everyone is going to climb a route slightly different. Tall vs short, left handed vs right, flexible vs not- everyone is going to get to the top slightly differently. I have loved climbing because of the way that you can make almost anything work for any body. Let's also not forget the community! The climbing community is so welcoming and knowledgeable. I guess when you are trusting someone to not drop you 60 feet, you build trust and friendships quickly.
The biggest surprise that I have discovered through climbing is how much I have enjoyed participating in an individual sport! I have played team sports my whole life and loved working as a team, but it was also easy to feel disappointed if *I* felt like I was the one to let the team down. Climbing is the opposite! I love when you get to a tough spot on your project and you're too high up for anyone to shout beta at you. I like being able to work through the moves and prove to myself what I can do.
I recently started to lead climb which has taken over as my new favorite type of climbing! It's tricky to only be able to clip with my left hand, but that gives the added challenge of the sport that originally got me hooked!
WHITNEY PESEK | Salt Lake City, UT
I have this motto of “never say no, say why not.” That is how I ended up climbing. Just said “why not” to a group of friends going outside to climb, not knowing at all what I was agreeing to. At the top of an 80 foot 5.8 with 6 flappers and pumped forearms I was on top of the world and was hooked for life.
For the last 8 years climbing has become my rock - literally and figuratively. It is an antidote to all the stress of daily life. When I get to go outside and climb I feel centered and balanced. It makes me a better and healthier person. Climbing has become a way of life not just a sport for me.
The biggest thing I have discovered about myself through climbing has to be how much the community means to me. Climbing is my life! I’m at the gym 4 days a week and then outside almost every weekend. But without the amazing diverse community of climbers, climbing wouldn’t be the same. It is the only sport I have participated in where everyone, even your competition, wants to see you push your limits and send! From beginner to expert we encourage each other, share knowledge, and give a friendly catch or spot. The friends I have made have helped me find ways to do everything I have ever wanted in climbing and beyond. I truly value the climbing community and feel like I have found “my people.”
We're rooting for Molly, Whitney and the rest of the ACG team at World Championships in Austria this September! You can support them too (go here to find their Crowdrise page).