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Benefits of Adaptive Rock Climbing

Updated: Nov 15, 2023

Once uncommon to see adaptive climbers in a rock climbing space, there are now programs specifically designed to equip and facilitate adaptive rock climbing popping up all over the country. Whether operated through a climbing gym or a partnership between a climbing gym and an adaptive sports group, it is easier than ever for a person with adaptive needs to reap the benefits of rock climbing in a safe environment.


We've outlined five main benefits to help you understand the benefits of adaptive rock climbing.


Unlock the Benefits of Adaptive Rock Climbing


Inclusivity

In more ways than one, the sport of rock climbing has unintentionally been gatekept. The sport's pioneers were mostly white men, and over time, financially affording an indoor gym membership has catered toward predominantly middle and upper-class white families. There's always been a heavy stigma in the climbing community about appearance because of the strength-to-weight ratio aspect at higher-level performance. But adaptive climbing is breaking down some barriers that once gate-keep the sport. It allows humans of all body types and abilities to become climbers and part of the climbing community.


Accessibility

People with physical or mental disabilities did not have easy access to rock climbing before adaptive climbing. Specific tools and extra personnel are needed to safely allow adaptive climbers to ascend the rock walls and learn to put on a harness, tie into the rope, etc. As adaptive climbing programs emerge, access to climbing becomes more accessible to individuals who could not enjoy the sport safely otherwise.


Community

Undoubtedly, one of the top benefits of falling into the rock climbing world is the community and friendships you gain. Whether you are a regular or adaptive climber, the accessibility to rock climb will provide you with a fantastic support group.


If you aren’t an adaptive climber but want to immerse yourself further in the climbing community, see if your area has any adaptive climbing programs that need volunteers! The climbing technology enables anyone to ascend a rock climbing wall, but the safety mechanisms often require additional personnel or belayers to assemble and use safely! It’s also a great way to connect with people from various walks of life and make new climbing friends. Like you, adaptive climbers want to feel welcomed and make friends doing what they love, climbing!


Challenge

As many times as it is said, it still rings true: climbing is an incredible mental and physical challenge. Everyone who commits to climbing will grow when they challenge themselves to push through the uncomfortable or difficult moments. This benefit doesn’t discriminate against a climber. Thus, the growth of adaptive climbing is vital because it extends the opportunity to challenge a group of people who want to challenge themselves but don’t have the means.


Strength

Climbing forces you to decide if you’re strong enough to complete the difficult task of scaling the wall. It’s easy to convince yourself you are not when, in fact, everyone is strong enough. Sometimes you may lack the tools to execute or display your inner strength fully, but with adaptive climbing, the tools are at your fingertips.


If you haven’t caught on by now, the benefits of adaptive climbing are many of the same benefits a regular climber receives from the sport. Instead, the growth of adaptive rock climbing nationally and globally is expanding the accessibility and inclusivity of the sport, allowing a more significant percentage of the population to experience what it is to challenge yourself mentally and physically and feel solid and confident in your abilities. The benefits of adaptive climbing impact the adaptive and general rock climbing communities by connecting the two, often separate, groups of climbers. With the adaptive climbing tools available, adaptive and non-adaptive climbers can train together at the rock gym and cheer each other on at competitions or work on their projects. Adaptive climbing is undoubtedly changing the world of rock climbing for the better!


If you are an adaptive climber, we’d love to hear how you found rock climbing and what you’ve gained from the sport! If you aren’t an adaptive climber but have volunteered with associated climbing programs or are friends with any adaptive climbers, we’d love to hear what you have learned along the way. And, if we have missed any key benefits, please share them below. There’s always more to learn.


To learn more about adaptive climbing at Approach, click here!


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