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Disability · 02:46

Handicap Climbing

  • By Romy Führer · Global and Europe Head Office (GHO/EHO), Europe


Romy Führer

Main aim of the charity

The main aim of the handicap climbing is to allow everyone with a disability to try to climb in a safe and secure environment, with specialized equipment and dedicated support from the ground or on the rope right next to them. Even if someone is not a dedicated climber, we are still a forum for exchange, a place to share experiences or get together to try something different. Everyone is an inspiration for everyone. Recently one of our group members with mental disability successfully passed the belay course and is now a certified belayer, you cannot imagine how proud he is to be a part of the supporters as well. The main aim of our handicap climbing group is to allow everyone to experience a climbing adventure, to be brave and strong and live a demanding hobby.

How the employee got involved and why

I got involved with Handicap Climbing together with my husband when one of his clients at work enthusiastically talked about a para-climbing group in Cologne which is open for passionate supporters. We joined the group two years ago and meanwhile are fully absorbed by the spirit of group. This way we could follow our passion to climb and at the same time allow others to feel the same excitement and happiness and little moments of success, moments when only the next step on the wall counts and not a disease. The handicap climbing group meets twice a month for about 2 hours, but open end of course.

What work does the employee do for charity?

For us it stared very carefully with medical briefing – and then we got right into it. We learned a lot and very quickly. Basically we started by belaying the handicappers, this way we could learn from handicap-co-climbers how to properly support on the rope. At the next occasion I started my 1st co-climb, eg for our MS patients who cannot use one side of their body, need support to place their hand & feet onto the “stones on the wall” or need my shoulder/ knee to sit or step on when there is no appropriate stone in reachable distance. I also need to make sure their protectors stay in place, so that they cannot hurt themselves while climbing. Sometimes only mental support is needed. Vicky, one of our “Downies” is often motivated enough to start a route on her own but needs someone she trusts to keep her motivated and focused, sometimes from the ground and sometimes on the rope right next to her. Aylin, our youngest one, is called kamikaze-Aylin, for a reason - although sitting in a wheelchair nothing stops her from climbing the wall like crazy. And every month her parents spend four hours in the car to allow her to climb as there is nothing comparable nearby for Aylin. One of our handicappers is blind BUT climbing routes with medium difficulty, Dani can feel the structure of her route and she doesn’t need any special support apart from regular belaying – the echo of the vertical arena allows her to estimate how far to go still to reach the top. It’s such a variety of souls and I couldn’t be more humble to be one of the supporters. We actually made good friends and also meet them privately for some handicap climbing sessions.

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