Paradox Sports, Ice Climbing in Ouray Mar 5,6 2011
Last weekend VetEx had the extreme honor of climbing with and participating in Paradox Sports tremendous Ice Climbing event in Ouray, CO. We are incredibly thankful for Claudia Lopez, who’s pictures of the event grace this page.
When we started VetEx, we knew that we could never reach our goals if we acted alone and out in Colorado, we are very pleased to find a community of organizations and people dedicated to getting veterans and others outside. Paradox is not a veteran specific organization instead, they work with all different types of people with various disabilities from amputees, quad and paraplegics, individuals with different levels of physical disability, developmental disability, and various levels of paralysis.
Amongst the group, are naturally a large number of veterans who have lost limbs or been wounded from war, though vets are just like the rest of the population in that some of us have wounds that did not happen during war. Like Chad Butrick, the Operations Director for Paradox and a veteran says, “we’re here to change the courtyard!”
Paradox is proving everyday that physical, developmental, emotional, or mental disability does not have to limit you in the activities you chose to pursue. Adventure awaits regardless of what your body or mind may look like on the outside! What was so special with this group was how little disability mattered. Everyone pulled together to get everyone else up the ice. Can’t feel your legs? Not a problem. We rigged together a rope that allowed one individual to jumar up the side of an impressive rock face and belay back down.
Missing a foot? Not a problem. There was a bucket of various prosthetic ice climbing feet with crampons on that were able to be used by the community of climbers present.
No hand or arm? Not a problem. There are prosthetic attachments that make your arm an ice tool.
No flexion in your feet? Not a problem if you’re willing to climb with your knees.
As VetEx drove out of Ouray on Sunday evening, heads full of laughter, good memories, and new friends, it struck me that what matters most in life after war is simply being willing to get outside. Our lives have all certainly changed thanks to our time in the military. We all come back home with a different set of experiences, emotions, and ideas in our rucksacks then when we headed out the first day after we signed our names into service for our nation. However, no matter what happened, there is a community out there willing to show you, willing to help you up the mountain or down into the valley, figuratively and literally.
And to the climbing community in general: there’s a lot to learn from a big group of people who might not look or talk like climbers, but simply want to get vertical and fight gravity for a few minutes! To those of you out there helping us on the ropes and on the ice, thank you!
See you out on the trail or up on the rock!
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