Help Gimpmonkeys Win GOLD Medals!

$5,494 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 83 people in 19 months
Paraclimbing is a quickly growing sport, and four climbers from the Front Range have earned a spot on the USA Climbing Team to represent our country at the World Championships in Paris, France. They need your help to get there! With no institutional funding available, the team will be eating Ramen to save up and needs your help to fill in the funding gaps. 

Please check out our updates for more pictures and videos about our crew. 

About the athletes:

James Scheri: With a beard that would make Paul Bunyan jealous, James brought his A-Game to nationals in Atlanta where he placed fourth in the Mens Leg Amputee division.  A 31 year old Marine Veteran, James lost his leg in an accident shortly after moving to Colorado.  Climbing became a major reason for him moving again, he started climbing during his rehab program while still on crutches. James is excited to represent the USA again, in a sport that has changed his life.

Maureen Beck,  AKA Team Mom: Born with only one hand, Mo has been climbing since she was 12 and competing in paraclimbing since 2013. This will be her 3rd appearance overseas and she'll be defending her 2014 World Title.   For more info, visit:  http://www.moinmountains.com/ 

Jess Sporte
Jessica Sporte was born with cancer in her right calf. She underwent chemo, radiation, and ultimately amputation by four months of age. Losing her leg hasn't stopped her, though. Jessica competed in wheelchair tennis at the professional level and has had a career high singles ranking of number 2 in the nation in 2013 and a career high doubles ranking of 33 in the world. Jessica took up rock climbing in March of 2015 and competed at the Paraclimbing Nationals in Atlanta, GA three months later where she took 3rd place. This past July, Jessica competed at the Paraclimbing Nationals where she took 2nd place, earning her a spot on the US team that will compete at the world championships in France.

Bill Casson: Bill was born completely blind. Multiple surgeries gave him marginal sight until two retinal detachments reduced his vision to the occasional perception of light or shadow. In summer and fall of 2009 the Colorado Center for the Blind helped him to challenge himself by encouraging his interest in climbing. Bill began climbing regularly in June 2015 and is the two-time National Blind Adaptive Champion. Bill
believes that lack of sight is just another dimension to overcome in solving the problems of a particular route, just as climbing is a microcosm for surmounting other challenges in life. For more info, visit:  http://www.cassonsclimbing.top/


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To donate to a specific athlete, please note their name in the comments of your donation. Otherwise donations will be split evenly. 

Flights: $1200
Lodging: $700
Ground Transit: $250
Food, Misc: $350

$2500 per athlete, $10,000 total.
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Hi friends and family! The team flies out next weekend, and we're super psyched! Thank you so much for your support so far, keep sharing and spreading the love!

This week's update comes from Bill Casson, our two-time national champion going after his first world title in Paris.
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I was born completely blind. The first few months of my life were filled with surgeries, bringing my vision to the point of being able to read large print. In 8th grade, a retinal detachment reduced my vision significantly. I could still see enough to get around but reading and school work became very challenging. September of my Sophomore year of college was an extremely difficult time in my life as another retinal issue resulted in my vision being reduced to almost nothing. Now all I can see is the occasional change in light or shadow. Since I was majoring in math/computer science and physics, I had to learn a new way of interacting with the computer and the physics labs. In summer and fall of 2009, I spent time at the Colorado Center for the Blind (CCB) to learn to live with my complete blindness and to regain confidence in my ability to challenge myself and my ability to be able to follow my dreams without my blindness being more than a nuisance.

I first learned the basics of climbing and did some outdoor climbing in elementary school. During my time at the CCB, I was given the opportunity to climb outdoors on a number of occasions. In college and graduate school, I occasionally would climb with some friends indoors. In June of 2015, a friend introduced me to Paradox Sports and the Front Range Adaptive Climbing Club (FRACC). I love the supportive and inspiring environment created by these organizations - celebrating accomplishments, be it a new climber finishing his or her first 5.8 or an experienced climber completing a 5.11 problem he or she has been fighting for weeks. This positive and encouraging community was the launching point where I wanted to make climbing a central pillar in my life.

From FRACC, I learned that the USA Climbing National Adaptive Championships (Nationals) would be held in July 2015. Even though I had just re-started climbing, I was encouraged by my FRACC team members to participate in the competition. Nationals)changed my life. I met the world’s top blind climber and learned much about effective communication regarding holds and about the positive energy and passion which blind climbers have for the sport. All this was capped by the accomplishment of finishing as the #1 USA Male Blind Climber.

I also found all of the athletes at the competition to be positive, energetic and passionate about the sport. Everyone was supportive of each other, even those that they were competing against. The thrill of the competition and accomplishment of finishing as the #1 US Blind Climber drew me further into climbing. Even before leaving Georgia, I was looking forward to 2016 when I could compete in Nationals again, and the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) World Adaptive Championships (Worlds) for the first time.

Climbing is about solving problems with each route providing unique challenges. For climbers with sight, solving the problems include reviewing the route in order to anticipate their next moves. With my blindness, I am less able to plan in advance, instead each climb requires instantaneous problem solving with each hand or foot hold I touch. My passion for climbing comes from the thrill I get as I solve the unique challenges of each climb and the feeling of accomplishment when I finish a tough problem that pushes me to grow in my abilities and technique. In addition, as with most people, life is full of stress and I have found that climbing helps me relieve some of that stress. When I am climbing, I am able to find a calm center where it is just me and the wall; the rest of the world can wait.

To climb a set route in a gym, I depend on the help of a caller, who is most often a dedicated friend or volunteer who guides me as I climb a route. The caller acts as my eyes, reading a route from the ground and walking me through the general characteristics and expected terrain as well as going through each hold to help me memorize as much of the route as I can. My caller will then show me the first couple holds, basicly what is within reach from the ground. Then it is time to climb.

As I climb, my caller indicates holds for my feet and hands using a clock face from a foot or hand, also providing distance, and hold shape and direction (i.e. left hand, 2 o'clock, long, right side pull). From there, it is up to me to decide on how to move, position myself, find balance, and prepare for the next move. Since gym routes often overlap, finding the correct holds for the route requires my caller to be precise, for me to communicate as needed, and strong collaboration from both sides. Balance is essential when climbing. What a caller reads from the ground is often different from what I may experience on the wall, occasionally leaving me feeling unbalanced. At these junctures, communication is vital when I ask my caller for hold options, usually by indicating the vicinity of where I feel a route setter would have set a foot/hand hold for balance or flow.

When I returned from the 2015 Nationals, I could easily climb 5.9 routes, but 5.10a’s were often a challenge. Since then, I have been training hard for the 2016 Nationals and Worlds competitions by climbing 2-5 times a week, and taking classes to expand my knowledge and improve on technique. I now climb 5.10c routes with relative ease and will challenge myself by climbing 5.11b routes.

My goals are to continuously improve my own technique and flow, and share my passion with others through competitions, sharing my experience online, and giving presentations. The adaptive climbing scene in the USA, especially for blind climbing, is a small field with so much potential. I hope to help spread the excitement of climbing to blind people around the country and maybe one day in other countries around the world.

Following Worlds,, I intend to continue to compete in national and international competitions such as the World Cup circuit.

I would like to thank my local sponsors, Rock and Resole < http://rockandresole.com/> for their generous sponsorship and my shoes and the great resoling of them for the competitions. I would like to thank the Boulder Rock Club < http://boulderrockclub.com/> for their help with my membership and the Spot bouldering gym < http://thespotgym.com/> for their help with training
Bill training at Earth Treks Golden
Lead climbing
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Hi world! Please keep sharing our campaign - exactly 4 weeks out, we have almost 500 share om Facebook and are a trending campaign on GFM!

This week's update comes from James, keep reading to find out more about him:
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I remember growing up seeing pictures of alpinists and climbers back in the day. Hemp ropes, homemade gear, hammered pitons for protection, knickers and boots, men among men (or women). People that pushed the limits of where we've gone, and what we've done, extremists, adventurers, pioneers, acsentionists, and perhaps a little crazy.
My attraction to climbing doesn't come as too much of a surprise, I joined the Marine Corps when I was 17, I remember being heavily influenced by a piece of advice from my father’s friend, an Airborne Ranger in Vietnam, "don't join the Marine Corps... they're a bunch of crazy SOB's." Well, after checking out all of the branches, I enlisted on my 17th birthday.... One of the opportunities I came across while serving in the Marines was Mountain Warfare Training Center, Bridgeport Ca, just south of Lake Tahoe. This was my first time spending 5 day stretches in the back-country and my first time in the Mountains. Just getting my feet wet with rigging and rappelling, this would lay the foundation that would steer me in later life decisions.
After Graduating college I found myself in a situation of all open doors. Twenty-eight years old, no children, no pets, no great job, and nothing holding me back. Three months after a 10 day backpacking trip to Colorado, excited about the opportunities that state had to offer, I moved to Denver. I made it 22 days, one night after riding bikes with my roommates and some other people, I parted ways and rode off on my own, I was off work the next day so why not ride more. Long story short the next thing I immediately remember is opening my eyes to medical staff around me, big bright lights over my head, a breathing tube down my throat, and I'm strapped to a hospital bed. "Sir, you're in the hospital" I remember thinking, well isn't that obvious? "You've been in an accident, you've been hit by a train" First thought, Holy ____, I tried to run a train on my bike?!?!?!? "We had to amputate your leg" ....
Not really sure what was in store for me, I started a climbing clinic with the V.A. and Adaptive Adventures as a rehab program. This went pretty well for me, giving me the opportunity to learn the basics of climbing; which being under 4 months post accident and not able to walk on my prosthetic yet was an intimidating thing for me. What if i can't... Climbing was one of the reasons I moved to Colorado.... Before the end of that program I had briefly started climbing with Front Range Adaptive Climbing Club (FRACC), but somehow had fallen out of things. I did however decide that climbing was something I wanted to continue to pursue. Not knowing anyone really well enough to get back on a rope, I started bouldering, which turns out was harder than I had expected but I was able to climb enough of the routes to keep me interested.
What started out as a once a week thing to at least make keeping the membership at Earth Treks worth it, turned into a 3 days a week, then 5 days a week, then realistically any opportunity I could get. Having also found myself weekly running into someone I had been introduced to through FRACC who also happened to be a right leg amputee found myself top roping weekly. Being in the gym at the same time 5 or more days a week (one of which I’m climbing with another gimp) does have its advantages, you start to meet other people that hold a similar schedule. This led to more opportunities... outdoor routes, multi-pitch, trad, aid, soloing, alpine, ice....
I hands down have to thank all of the friends that I have met through the climbing community (Paradox, Earth Treks, and the rest of you beautiful dirt bags), the amount of knowledge thats has been shared, the time people have spent with me learning and showing me the correct and safe way to do what I love to do, and just climbing with me....
Now I never started climbing to compete in anything... In fact, I didn't even know that competitions for adaptive climbers existed? Or that I would be anywhere near good enough to consider it. But after some urging from some climbing friends and a positive experience from a camp to prepare for climbing Nationals/Worlds, I decided to compete and see where I would rank. Placing 4th at Nationals and qualifying for Worlds is something I would have never imagined possible after my amputation, or even after avidly climbing.
Being unprepared for the length of the wall at Nationals was an eye opener for me and has been the main focus of my training since. Having just under 4 weeks before Worlds in Paris, I can say that I'm excited to see my ability on this level of a venue and continue growing as a climber.

James tearing it up in Veaduawoo
James in Clear Creek
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We're only $95 away from $2k, remember whoever gets us there gets all of the mailable rewards!

This week's update is a story on the lovely Jess Sporte, read on!

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I’ll call this post ‘Sporte Climbing’.

“What an awesome last name!” “You must be a good sport. Haha.” “What a fitting last name!” These
are just some of the many comments I receive when people find out that my last name is Sporte (yes,
Sporte, like you play sports, except there is an ‘E’ at the end - no, not Spork, or Spore or Sportse).

Anyways, I digress… rock climbing. I started rock climbing in March of 2015 because I like to climb and I
tend to do some climbing in my everyday life. Let me explain, I am short. “Short?” you say, “Like 5’2”
short?” No, I wish (like really wish) I was 5’2”, or even 5’! No, I am 4’10”. So reaching things on top
shelves has always been tricky. I own the hashtag #shortgirlproblems. I’ve been climbing up onto things
such as counters or shelves all my life. In other words, climbing comes easy to me.

So when I heard of the Front Range Adaptive Climbing Club, I was psyched. I’ve always loved climbing at camp when I was a kid. The first night I went climbing, I was introduced to Paradox Sports. (Side note on Paradox, they are by far one of my favorite organizations. Their staff and participants were always teaching me how to do things on my own; they taught me how to tie a figure 8, how to belay, how to mantle, they took me on my first outdoor climbing experience. I’ve come across many non-profit organizations whose mission is adaptive sports, but Paradox has always stuck out with me because they’ve taught me to become independent. I don’t participate in Paradox events because that’s the only way I’ll be able to participate in that sport, but because the Paradox staff and members become friends, people you actually want to hang out with.)

Along with Paradox Sports, I met Mo (Maureen Beck). Once she saw me climb, she told me I needed to compete at Nationals in July. I was flattered, but at that time I was solidly in the middle of my wheelchair tennis sabbatical. Rock climbing was just supposed to be a way to stay fit during the time frame I was going to do anything but touch a tennis racket. By June, Mo had pestered me enough that I decided to give competition a try. Paradox Sports helped me fundraise and before I knew it I was climbing my first route at Nationals in Atlanta.

I vividly remember that first climb. It was a pink route on the back wall at Stone Summit. It looked like a great warm up route and it was definitely easy enough for me to send it. However, about half way up, my nerves kicked in and I felt out of breath and ready to puke. I rested my head against the wall and told myself to have fun, don’t worry about the outcome, enjoy the moment. The rest of the competition is a blur, I remember bits and pieces of cruxes on routes
I really wanted to send, but struggled with.

Then came the awards ceremony. When they called out 4th place and it wasn’t me, I have to admit, I was slightly disappointed. I had thought I had climbed well
enough to place 4th at least. To my astonishment, I came in 3rd that night! My first comp and I made the
podium! It was exhilarating. And I became hooked.

It’s been over a year since my last tennis competition so I think it’s finally time to say ‘Climbing is my sport’.
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I'm super excited that Bill Casson has joined our campaign! Bill has been absolutely slaying the climbing scene the last two years, and we couldn't be more proud to have him round out our Colorado team.

$1100 in the bank, niw it's time for a contest! The donor who gets us to $2k gets ALL OF THE PRIZES!!! (except the logo wear, because that will bre tricky!) Will that be you?
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Read a Previous Update
Vernie Etzenbach
17 months ago

Please have my donation go directly to James Scheri, thank you...GO GET 'EM James!!

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$5,494 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 83 people in 19 months
Created August 1, 2016
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LH
$100
Lindsey Hullinger
7 months ago

Good luck guys!!!

$25
Anonymous
17 months ago
$30
Anonymous
17 months ago
DS
$25
Dave Stallard
17 months ago

Go Mo!

HT
$500
Head Rush Technologies
17 months ago
1
1

Go get 'em, team!

$100
Arthur Whalen
17 months ago
1
1

Good luck and Semper Fi!!!

Vernie Etzenbach
17 months ago

Please have my donation go directly to James Scheri, thank you...GO GET 'EM James!!

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