Bouldering in Joshua Tree

Bouldering in Joshua Tree
Ronnie 15 feet off deck on the classic White Rastafarian.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Adaptive Climbing Clinic in "The Gunks" presented by Athlete's w/ Disabilities Network

This has been a really successful year for the clinics that I host here in the USA. I was able to host clinics at Joshua Tree National Park, Planet Rock, Brooklyn Boulders, and the amputee coalition headquarters. This was my 5th and last clinic for the year, and probably the one I have been looking forward to the most.

Group shot from Clinic

Cliff Line

I was able to team up with Andrew Chao of Peak Potential, a local adaptive climbing non-profit in New Jersey that works primarily with kids, and Kareemah Batts of NYC Adaptive Climbing to get the word out through the local community.

Me and Andrew at the top of the cliff

The weather was beautiful and it was prime fall season in New York with the fall leaves change in full swing. Our clinic saw a really lively group of 14 that came out to enjoy the day. The 60 foot cliffs at Peter's Kill Park provided the perfect venue to host our clinic. The sun was shining for most of the day, and a cool breeze kept the leaves coming down off of the trees. I could not have asked for a better guiding service, Mountain Skills, and group of volunteers for the day. Our participants were able to enjoy over ten different climbs, as we switched locations to a different spot of the crag in the afternoon after the Evolv and Sanuk sponsored raffle.

We had a great group and I am really looking forward to next year's event.

I have been climbing for six years now and had one of the most memorable experiences of my climbing career the day after the clinic.

My friend, Jerod Minnich, is a double below the knee amputee who has been a local climber to the area for years. Jerod and I met at the Extremity Games but it had been years since we had seen each other. He reached out to me to come volunteer at the clinic, and wanted to get together the day after to do some multi-pitch climbing at another area called The Trapps. One of our participants from the clinic, Tommy, a below the knee amputee from Philadelphia, decided to hang with us for an extra day as well.

Jerod racking up
Finishing the first pitch

The route we decided to tackle on Sunday morning was High Exposure, probably the most classic 5.6 at the Gunks. I primarily stick to bouldering, and have never climbed anything of this height. We got an early start and made our way to the climb with our party of 6, excited about the 250 foot adventure that lay ahead of us.

Three guys, two legs

 Jerod led the way and we all cruised up to the open air moves and the stunning scenery that awaited at the top. The experience of being up high with nothing but air under your feel was astonishing. The only thing that made the experience better was getting to have it with such a great group of people.

View from the top of the cliff

It never ceases to amaze me how diverse of an experience climbing has to offer, and how people of such different backgrounds from all over the country can converge to have such a powerful experience. I love being a part of the community and can't wait until the next big adventure rolls around.

Group Panoramic at the top
Thanks to Athletes w/ Disabilities Network, Evolv, Sanuk, Sterling Rope, Mountain Skills, and Black Diamond for making this all happen.

1 comment:

  1. What a thrilling, Heart Accelerating, Adrenaline pumped, Saturday, October 6 I was invited to Adaptive Climbing Clinic in "The Gunks" presented by Athlete's w/ Disabilities Network
    With Ronnie Dickson
    What else can a 60-year-old above the knee amputee was just on his first rock climb say “wow”
    For the first time in many, many years I felt complete fear and excitement at the same time
    Even though the brain knew that I was completely safe, at the hands of professionals, my emotions did not know this.
    And that is a good thing as it brought back the thrill of life, climbing approximately 80 feet on solid rock with very few hand holes and less footholds, I repeated this thrill ride four times
    I want to thank Ronnie Dickson for inviting me to one of the most thrilling days of had the pleasure to enjoy in over a decade, through his selfless giving he has brought this same thrill too many challenged athletics
    For you see Ronnie goes forward with the attitude of can do, not you should not do, these are the words most amputees here, you're lucky to be walking what else do you want to do
    My answer is everything! With people like Ronnie pointing the way, I have found that my friendship with Ronnie has allowed me to move forward as an athletic without having to figure it all out myself
    I'm so grateful for friendship and the different events that Ronnie sponsors
    Your friend; Bob Chappell, Riverside Rhode Island