Cerebral Palsy need not be a barrier

Posted by Nick Colton on 09/08/2012
Nik training for his CWA. Photo: Ray Wood

Nik Royale is a climber who has a condition described as progressive cerebral palsy and he has passed his Climbing Wall Award.

On a good day Nik can walk unaided but tires quickly. At other times he is wheelchair bound and periodically suffers from debilitating relapses.  Nik also lives with the constant fear that the time is just around the corner when he'll be unable to fight back from a relapse.

After becoming interested in, and developing a love for, climbing Nik set himself the personal target of gaining his Climbing Wall Award, CWA for short, to enable him to demonstrate his capabilities.  This has been his biggest climbing challenge so far.

After advisory meetings with staff at the MLTE office and talking through their policy on candidates with a variety of disabilities or medical conditions and the possibility of gaining the award Nik registered for the CWA and was put in touch with one of the MLTE providers, David Hooper who runs courses at Awesome Walls in Liverpool. David has had considerable experience in the delivery of CWA – running courses from the very beginning of the scheme. After further discussions with the office about the process to be followed David was more than happy to accept Nik on to a CWA training course

Given the progressive nature of his condition, Nik was keen to progress as fast as possible through the CWA scheme and after an evaluation of his skills and capabilities on the training course Dave was happy to accept him straight on to a CWA assessment in October 2009.

To celebrate his achievement, Ray Wood and Ray Saunders have made a moving video tribute to Nik, called Equal to Everybody Else, as he progresses through his CWA.

On a previous ocassion Nik set himself the challenge of reaching Tryfan's summit by one of its east face rock routes and this was captured by cameraman John Whittle here
 

Further Information

Climbing For All: disability awareness in rock climbing
This informative booklet contains information about climbing with people with a wide range of disabilities. It also covers technical considerations, such as use of special equipment to facilitate top rope climbing, abseiling and assisted climbing. For more information click here.

Walking For All: Disability Awareness in Walking
This information booklet contains information about walking with people with a wide range of disabilities.  For more information click here 

What is the Climbing Wall Award?
The Climbing Wall Award, CWA for short, is designed for people working with groups on artificial climbing walls and boulders.  It is aimed at those who have a depth of personal involvement and commitment to climbing indoors, meaning candidates who can and do climb and it encompasses all of the skills required to run bouldering and bottom-rope climbing sessions.

More information about the CWA is here



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