Thursday, March 26, 2009

Paradox on ice.

When the R.P.G. rocket impacted Captain D.J. Skelton while on combat operations in Fallujah the farthest thing from his mind was climbing. But for D.J., and many of us, climbing is in our blood. With his glass eye, titanium arm, and numerous scars across his body he modifies equipment and techniques to climb both ice and rock. Since our first meeting in the Red River Gorge of Kentucky nearly two years ago D.J. has become a regular climbing partner of mine. He along with Timmy O Neil created Paradox sports.

“Paradox Sports was created with a common desire to integrate the physically disabled into the outdoor community by providing inspiration, opportunities, and the adaptive equipment needed to participate in human-powered outdoor sports.”The common bond of loving the outdoors and wanting to share it with others, regardless of physical limitations, is what brought them together.” Says executive director Malcom Daily. “

Over the weekend of March 6th Paradox Sports gathered in Ouray Colorado to scrape up what ice remained. The morning started off with a quick discussing on to get Vijay, a 23 year old paraplegic from Breckenridge CO, to the crag. Vijay didn’t really care how it happened so long as it did. A few hours later he was being lowered directing into the Uncompahgre Gorge rigged and ready for his turn at the ice. “Life is also about adaptability," said O'Neil as we lowered him off of the icy cliff. I concurred.

D.J. has taught me many things. One of them being that although some injuries or congenital abnormalities ( or whatever PC term you want to use) may appear worse than others it’s all relative to the individual. Chad Jukes loss of his leg from an IED in Iraq is no less significant than Vijay’s paralysis from a rappelling accident. They all require a special energy to overcome. Paradox is an amazing community of people and I look forward to working with them again.

Micah Dash

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