No Barriers/Dolomiti July 15-19, 2005
Wellman did 7000 pullups on his historic climb of El Capitan!
This July, Mark Wellman,
the first paraplegic to climb El Capitan; Hugh Herr, a double-leg
amputee who has put up first ascents on world class rock faces; and I have
organized No Barriers/Dolomiti, a non-profit outdoor festival designed to
blast open the doors of opportunity for disabled people. Held in Cortina,
Italy, in the heart of the Dolomites, the project stems from our belief that
the beautiful open spaces of the world aren’t just for elite athletes, but for
every person, regardless of age, physical ability...or disability. No
Barriers/Dolomiti is for anyone who dreams big and craves a life of innovation
Last summer’s festival, the first of its kind, was an
outstanding beginning, with 500 disabled outdoor enthusiasts, family
members, disability-related professionals, and sponsors gathered from around
Europe and America taking part. This summer's festival will be even
bigger, with a wider variety of clinics and demonstrations, and a greater
worldwide presence. Cortina provides a spectacular and awe-inspiring
environment for this educational event.
No Barriers/Dolomiti will include inspiring
presentations from disabled athletes, a technology symposium, and an equipment
fair. Scientists, researchers, and athletes will showcase the latest
prosthetic limbs, wheel chairs, and climbing and hiking tools. Speakers will
present on the future of technology for disabled people.
Most exciting will be the outdoor clinics on rock
climbing and hand cycling for paraplegics and quadraplegics, and trekking
clinics, led by me, for blind and visually impaired people. Envision
paraplegics learning to do pull-ups up a rock face, quadraplegics screaming
down a mountain trail on hand cycles, and blind people trekking over rugged
We will end this year's festival with a dramatic climb
of a major Dolomite rock face by a fully disabled, unsupported climbing team -
Hugh Herr, who runs Harvard's prosthetic leg institute; Andy Holzer, a blind
climber from Austria whom I met during last year's festivities; and myself.
This demonstration of the power of a disabled team will be a major media
focus. The chosen climb is a Dolomite test piece: the Tofana’s Pilastro
Route - 15 pitches and one of the Dolomites' most classic and difficult
Hugh Herr is once again a world-class rock climber,
using prosthetic legs which he developed.
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