Therapeutic climbers aim higher

Therapeutic climbers aim higher

April 11th, 2013 by Ron Bush in Sports - Outdoors

Volunteers guide participants in Chattanooga Parks and Recreation's Climbing Higher program during last year's outing at The Stone Fort.

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Chattanooga Parks and Recreation's therapeutic recreation division continues to add opportunities for area residents with disabilities. One such program literally is on the rise, as will be evident Sunday.

The Climbing Higher program will be making its second outing to Little Rock City, also known as the Stone Fort, at the Montlake Golf Course. A group of nearly 20 will make ascents from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The previous trip there was last May and included "probably eight to 10" participants, according to Elaine Adams, the city's therapeutic recreation coordinator. Sunday's return will double that.

The participants have been working indoors at Urban Rocks every other week.

"We're all tied to ropes and everything else from a safety standpoint," Adams said, "but going out on real rock is such a different challenge than being in the gym - and just a different experience overall."

Her division of the parks department regularly conducts a variety of other sporting outings for people with physical or mental challenges, including tennis, cycling and even water-skiing, but rock-climbing is even more of an "adventure" option, Adams acknowledged.

"It's important for us to show individuals of all abilities that they're able to climb and take advantage of the outdoors like everybody else in Chattanooga," she said.

She noted that this is a grant-funded program receiving substantial help from Rock/Creek Outfitters and the Grassroots Alliance. She thanked Urban Rocks for its training personnel and facilities and Sunday's Montlake hosts not only for making the Stone Fort available but also for providing golf carts and path access for getting back and forth to the climb site.