I started climbing early in 2008. That’s almost ten years after I had become spastic due to a hemorrhage (stroke) near to my brainstem. It didn’t take long before I joined the student-society ‘Utrecht Student Alpinism Club’ (USAC). Climbing started out as a sort of ‘advanced physiotherapy’ but gradually became more and more important for me (at present, I am considering making a bouldering route from my bed to the toilet).
At the end of 2015 I’ve been admitted into an official training program for paraclimbing (read this post to find out how that happened), organised by the Dutch Society for Climbing and Mountaineering (NKBV). The first competition that I participated in was the Paraclimbing World Championship in September 2016 in Paris. It started out as sort of a joke: although I was enthusiastic about competing, I did not expect anything really (I was afraid that I’d just drop out of the route after one or two meters).
I did a lot better than I had expected: I ended fourth in my category. But I won’t let it rest here. In Innsbruck in 2018 there’s another World Championship. I have one and a half more years of training ahead of me and then I’ll have another go at the gold. This time my expectations will be higher – per aspera ad astra!