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Topic - Teaching a blind man to boulder, from scratch

Madden - on 21 May 2013
So, I work as a bouldering instructor (somewhat of a grand title!) at my local wall, and run a session on Wednesday evenings. For the last couple of weeks, a lad (in his 20s or so) has started turning up who is completely blind, but is mad-keen to climb! So far, it's been a case of describing where a hold is for him, or tapping on the hold so he can (vaguely) hear where it is. Obviously, this is fairly labour intensive, especially with me meant to be running a session for other people too!

So I've been doing some thinking, and have come up with one idea to help him climb, but wondered if the collective UKC conciousness could think of more.

My idea is this (and I've tested it on blindfolded volunteers)...
Take a problem with large, protruding holds (or stick some drawing pins in the wall near the holds), and wrap string around each hold, and along to the next one. The climber can then follow the string with their hands, with it getting in the way of their climbing very little. It seems to work quite well, although I haven't tried it with the blind lad yet (that's tomorrow).

So does anybody have any more ideas as to how I can help him climb more autonomously, but follow routes, and challenge himself?

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