Visually impaired GB paraclimber John Churcher is ramping up his boulder training with a little help from the Alpkit Foundation.
John has been part of the GB paraclimbing team for 5 years, climbing in the category of B2 Visually Impared, he's at an exceptional level of indoor climbing. The struggle however, is getting outside and overcoming the barriers that come from bouldering outdoors without the use of sight. Afterall, how confident would you feel highballing a 7a with a blindfold on?
As much as this is about John getting outdoors for his own training, he's also an inpiration to many other aspiring paraclimbers. Proving that anyone can do anything if you put your mind to it, John likes to interact with other boulderers to challenge perceptions and inspire others, and the Alpkit Foundation couldn't be happier than to support this mission with a bit of kit to help John on the way.
Here's a little of what John had to say:
"I’m a passionate climber and when I’m climbing I forget I have a disability. I’m very keen to have more outdoor adventures and try new things. Other people tend see me as inspirational and I’d like to use this to encourage other people, especially those with disabilities, to get involved with more outdoor adventures, particularly climbing. Bouldering is great because of the social aspect and inclusivity. I’ve found that people are a little unsure of how to talk to me initially, but once we talk about how to climb a problem, I’m just a climber, not a blind guy." - John Churcher