How Paradox Sports Is Making Climbing a More Inclusive Space

Since 2007, Paradox Sports has run climbing trips, community nights, and training programs for veterans and adaptive athletes.

Photo: Paradox Sports

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

Dan Boozan had an arm paralyzed in a cycling accident. Enock Glidden was born with Spina Bifida—a rare disease that resulted in waist-down paralysis. Aika Yoshida broke her neck in an acrobatic accident and was confronted with a long and uncertain road back to athletics.

What do these athletes have in common? They, like thousands of others, found healing and strength through climbing with the help of Paradox Sports.

A group of Paradox trip participants at the Gunks. Some are in wheelchairs. One woman is holding her prosthesis. It looks like a good time.
(Photo: Paradox Sports)

Since its founding in 2007, Paradox Sports, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, has worked tirelessly to expand accessibility in our sport. They do this by hosting national climbing trips for adaptive climbers and veterans’ groups, introducing hundreds of people with disabilities to the sport every year; they run local clinics designed to help adaptive climbers increase their skills in a community setting; they conduct trainings for gyms, guiding services, veterans-affairs facilities, and university programs around the country, sharing the latest adaptive climbing practices so these organizations can better serve their local adaptive communities; and they sponsor individual athletes through their Adaptive Adventure Fund.

Thanks to Paradox, Dan Boozan has found a new sport he’s passionate about and a community to go with it. Aika Yoshida returned to climbing and is pulling harder than ever. And Enock Glidden ascended Zodiac on El Cap—a process that, for him, involved doing some 800 pull-ups a day for five consecutive days.

a gathering of climbers on the floor of a gym. One stands with a prosthesis. One sits in a wheelchair. A woman sits on the floor, belaying an invisible climber.
One of Paradox’s greatest gifts is community. Here adaptive climbers gather to sweat and socialize at a local gym.

Each year, Paradox touches roughly 350 people with physical disabilities, including—but not limited to—people with amputation or limb difference, blindness, hearing impairment, spinal cord injuries, neurological conditions, traumatic brain injuries, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Paradox achieves this with the help of a variety of funding sources—but roughly 10% of their revenue comes from individual donations. With this in mind, Climbing has partnered with Paradox Sports through Outside’s Find Your Good program. Our goal: to help them do what they do.

We urge you to consider donating or volunteering your time.

Trending on Climbing

Film: How Matt Cornell Free Soloed One of America’s Classic Hard Mixed Routes

"The Nutcracker" explores the mental challenges of solo climbing and the tactics Cornell used to help him send the route.