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The purpose of this project was to (1) identify barriers to participation in competitive adaptive rock climbing for adults with a physical disability and (2) create and distribute virtual educational resources to meet identified barriers. The need for this project was highlighted by athlete and coach self-report of limited ability to engage in competitive adaptive rock climbing, also known as paraclimbing.

The sample consisted of 108 adaptive athletes, adaptive rock-climbing coaches, staff members in rock climbing gyms, and volunteers at adaptive rock climbing events. Participants anonymously completed a ten-minute mixed methods virtual survey using Microsoft Forms.

Statistical analyses suggest recurrent barriers to participation in competitive paraclimbing including lack of accessibility within the gym environment, limited financial and social resources, and confusion regarding the paraclimbing classification criteria and competition rulebook for national and world cup competitions. Thematic analysis of free response questions suggests additional barriers of poor disability etiquette from able-bodied staff and volunteers, a lack of “community” at the climbing gym, and limited diversity in the climbing community. Educational resources were created and published through a novel corporation created by the author, the Adaptive Climbing Alliance LLC. Resources were distributed virtually after being published on a freely accessible, community centered domain entitled Paraclimbing Info. Resources promote equity for paraclimbers and support the growing field of adaptive athletics.

Publication Date



University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences


Rock-Climbing, Paraclimbing, Disability, Para-Sport, Paralympics, Adaptive Climbing

Medical Subject Headings

Sports for Persons with Disabilities, Para-Athletes, Disabled Persons, Rehabilitation, Athletes, Occupational Therapy


Occupational Therapy | Sports Medicine | Sports Sciences


Poster presented at the Virtual OTD Capstone Symposium, held online at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences April 12-14, 2022.

Barriers and Resources for Competitive Adaptive Rock Climbing