Para-Olympic skier Chris Waddell will attempt something amazing in March of 2009. The 12-time medal winner, who has been paralyzed from the waist down since 1988, will attempt to go up Mt. Kilimanjaro in wheelchair, becoming the first person to do so. The goal is to climb the mountain unassisted, and summit on the anniversary of the loss of his ability to walk. The date will also mark half of Chris’ life on his legs and the other half in his wheelchair.
In preparation for his climb, Chris has launched his website, which has plenty of information about this amazing man. You’ll find a gallery of photos, info on his inspirational speaking engagements, and his personal blog where he discusses his training, preparation, and thoughts on the climb as it looms nearer.
I’m pretty amazed that Chris is making this attempt. Kili is no small feat for anyone, even in great shape. The trails are challenging and steep, and as you get higher, you encounter a lot of volcanic rock that makes for tough going when you’re on two feet, let alone in a wheel chair. And that’s all before you get to the snow and ice near the summit.
On the other hand, I’d never count this guy out. He’s clearly done great things and has not let the fact that he can’t walk stand in the way of him going after the things he wants in life. His athletic accomplishments alone are enough to make me admire the guy, and this just adds another layer to that. It’ll be fun to follow along in the spring, and I wish him the best of luck. I hope he makes it to the top and gets a chance to enjoy the African sunrise at the summit. Good luck Chris!
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