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When you developed fibromyalgia or were injured in that motocross spill or car crash, you thought you should say goodbye to summiting K2. Not so. You might want to stay away from extreme cold, but you can still rappel with the best of them.
Wheelchair-bound adventure athlete/filmmaker/motivational speaker Mark Wellman has climbed El Capitan and Half Dome. He designed adaptive climbing gear, which you'll need along with good sports wheelchairs. This isn't a huge step from wheel chair racing and wheel chair basketball. Okay...the huge vertical drop may be a step you can't surmount with a portable wheelchair ramp. But observe the regular rules of mountain climbing (and don't offend the Sherpas), and you can follow Mark Wellman's example.
Some thoughts on climbing a mountain in a wheelchair:
• Buy adaptive pull-up bars to aid in your rappelling.
• Avoid chafing and abrasions with leg chaps.
• As before, chest harnesses and even leg harnesses will increase safety.
• Use fold-up lightweight sports wheel chairs for base camps and that glorious moment at the summit.
• Visit your doctor before your attempt, and bring a medic or nurse to base camp if possible.
• Never summit alone. This is good advice for all mountain climbers.
Above all, remember that the best equipment you can have is perseverance, cheerfulness and determination.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|