Gimps on Ice 2008 – Recap
More PHOTOS by Devaki A. Murch
“Petzl gave me 6 sets of crampons, how many feet have you got?”
“I have 4 crampon feet, we will have to switch off – most of the gimps only use one foot. ”
“I think we are good, we will have about 12 helmets.”
“That’s good. Everyone has a head. “
Paradox Sports brought together 9 gimps, amputees and paraplegics for a stellar weekend in the Uncompahgre Gorge in Ouray, Colorado for the inaugural Gimps on Ice. Climbers came in from San Antonio, British Columbia, Maine, Vermont, Utah and Colorado on Friday night to gear up for some ice climbing. The energy was contagious as it always is with Paradox Sports events. It drew inquires from passing climbers who dropped their packs to help us out with a belay. Dedicated volunteers assisted through out the weekend, led by Malcolm Daly, Jim Donini, Angela Donini, Margo Talbot, Kitty Calhoun, Jay Smith, Cory Hind and Annie Whitehouse.
“I think we are about equal in dexterity—I have got 5 fingers, but you have got two thumbs….” Pete Davis sat with Quinn Simons looking at their hands. Pete uses a prosthetic right arm, with a fixed ice axe end for climbing. Quinn lost his fingers on both hands as well as his feet to frost bite on Gurla Mandhata in 1997. The spirit and the camaraderie of the Paradox team are amazing. It is a sense of companionship and desire to live life to its fullest- and to share that energy with others. Taking 2 paraplegics and 4 individuals missing various appendages may seem daunting to most—but with the assistance of experienced climbers, professional guides and fellow climbers Paradox Sports once again brought together an amazing team that made the weekend a great success.
Sean O’Neill and Vijay Viswanathan, both paraplegics devised unique ascending systems which allowed them to truly climb the route using ice tools, and hauled their lower body with a static ascending line. Climbers who are missing an arm or leg/foot use various adaptive devices that directly attach to the pylon, which connects the socket to arm/leg. Malcolm Daly developed a crampon foot that offers a stable platform using the Trango crampon, which is a solid plate with points without using a boot. Paradox Sports works with various developers in creating unique adaptive equipment for human powered sports such as climbing, paddling, ice climbing, bike riding and Nordic skiing. Malcolm Daly, who is the Executive Director for Paradox Sports and amputee, puts it succinctly: "Ice is the great equalizer. None of us can climb it without adaptive equipment. We just go one step further."
Paradox Sports was created by an eclectic group of individuals with a common desire to integrate the physically disabled into the outdoor community by providing inspiration, opportunities, and the adaptive equipment needed to participate in human-powered outdoor sports. It is the brainchild of Army Captain DJ Skelton and professional climber Timmy O’Neill. DJ was wounded in Iraq and is still on active duty AND works as an advocate for wounded soldiers returning from Iraq. Timmy travels the world as an entertainer, climber, and ambassador for the outdoor clothing company, Patagonia. The common bond of loving the outdoors and wanting to share it with others, regardless of physical limitations, is what brought them together.
The Ouray Ice Park was opened in 1995 as the world’s first park devoted exclusively to the sport of ice climbing. A small band of local volunteers and business owners developed the Park utilizing a unique set of assets found perhaps only in Ouray: a one-hundred-foot-deep, mile-long gorge that descends right into town. Over the past 14 years the park has grown to become the largest ice-climbing park in the world and attracts climbers from all over the world.
Gimps On Ice is made possible by the support of the Ouray Victorian Inn, San Juan Mountain Guides, the Outlaw Restaurant and Ouray Mountain Sports.