Chris Hamper - a lifelong climber with Parkinson's disease - writes about an initiation into the world of paraclimbing competitions. Amid the uncertainty of a pandemic year and other complications, it turns out that simply getting to the events is half the battle...
When I first received my Parkinson's diagnosis I wondered if I was eligible to compete as a paraclimber — apparently not, pity, I could have won. I don't know what has changed. Maybe I asked the wrong person, but it seems that now I can, the problem is now I have no chance of winning. It's not all about winning of course, the prizes aren't that good anyway. No, it's about the process; all the thinking about it, something to talk (and write) about, motivation to train.
I love the way Chris writes. So unassuming. So effortlessly funny.
If you're reading this, Chris, you were a bit of a climbing hero of mine when I was first starting in Leamington in the 70s, hearing tales from Ted Lister about your exploits on rock and on Kenilworth Castle wall. But by the time I'd finally got my arse up some half-decent grades you'd disappeared from the scene seemingly without trace. Apart, that is, from the tales I occasionally heard of you, several stone overweight after 6 months on the couch, ending up at a crag and warming up on an E5. I don't know how true those tales were. I don't care. They were inspirational. You were an inspiration. You still are, both with how you appear to be living with Parkinsons and how well you write - about Parkinsons, about climbing, about life.
Please keep the inspiration flowing.
Thanks. Writing it was fun.
A couple of corrections:
Erik and Sebastien knee-bar with their left legs.
I think it was squeaky Mark not John or Dave although still not 100% sure.
They haven't actually been to Moscow yet.
John, I of course remember you arriving at the Warwick wall with Ted in your school uniform. In those days it was the done thing to solo on the climbing wall. Ted used to have a solo circuit that he would cruise around. It's where I was introduced to the art of nonchalant climbing. No power screams, just yawns.
Excellent as usual Chris, really enjoyed reading about your exploits.
Yes it was squeaky Mark, he appears here on UKC regularly......
Visiting American climber Anna Hazlett has repeated Once Upon a Time in the South West E9 6c at Dyer's Lookout. The bold line was not only Anna's first of the grade, but one of her first trad routes full stop. On the same...