Paraclimbing has been a long-standing part of the World Championships, but will not be included this year. The decision has upset many climbers and is perhaps a regression in making climbing inclusive, and a disservice to para-athletes.
Maureen Beck, a National Geographic adventurer of the year, has started an online petition (see here) to show support for paraclimbing to be involved in the World Championships. Beck, who is missing her left arm below the elbow, was featured in the documentary Stumped and has a number of impressive rock climbs to her name, including Archangel 5.12c and Lotus Flower Tower in the Northwest Territories with Jim Ewing.
As a competitive climber, she’s won five national titles, a gold medal at the 2014 Paraclimbing World Championships in Spain, and defended that title with a gold medal at the 2016 World Championships in Paris and bronze the IFSC Innsbruck 2018 World Championship. In 2017, Maureen became the chair of the USAC Paraclimbing Committee.
PETITION LINK IN BIO: All, I can’t begin to describe to you the impact that competition climbing at a world level has had on my life. The 2019 Climbing World Championships are in Tokyo this August. For the first time since 2014, Paraclimbing is NOT being included. We are told that there was a scheduling mistake with planning the event, and Paraclimbing is bearing the cost of that error. Current plans are to move Paraclimbing to a separate competition in France where it will receive little of the attention that comes with climbing alongside the able bodied athletes. We believe that disabled athletes deserve the opportunity to compete on the same world stage as all of the other athletes. Please take a look at our petition and consider signing and sharing. Showing the IFSC that people are truly invested in the paraclimbing community will help us not only for this, but will help give us a voice going forward- disabled athletes matter. Photos by @jengoldphoto and @sytsevanslooten #gimpsnotwimps @paradoxsports @thenorthface @thenorthface_climb @scarpana @sterlingrope @petzl_official @rhinoskinsolutions @usaclimbing @beastfingersclimbing @evorock_louisville @rockandicemag @cafoundation @usparalympics @outsidemagazine @natgeoadventure @frictionlabs @blackdiamond #climbing_pictures_of_instagram #climbingtraining #adaptiveathlete #competition #teamusa
Beck wrote the following in her petition: Since 2012, paraclimbers, or climbers with physical disabilities, have competed alongside their abled bodied counterparts at the World Championships. Every two years, paraclimbers get to share the stage with the abled climbers and experience true competition on a world class stage, and the world gets a chance to see, learn from and be inspired by paraclimbers overcoming the impossible. Other standalone paraclimbing events see little of the same attention and publicity as when shared with the abled athletes.
It’s come to the paraclimber’s attention that due to what is being described as a ‘scheduling conflict’ has led the Japanese Mountaineering & Sport Climbing Association (the host organization) and the International Federation of Sport Climbing (the governing body for competitive climbing) to consider cancelling the Paraclimbing part of the world championships – after it had already been announced and published to the schedule on the IFSC website, and after a history of successful combined events. Cancelling paraclimbing in Tokyo is the easy, convenient thing to do, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing – our athletes are more than an inconvenience, and they deserve better.