Local Hero: Maureen Beck

The champion paraclimber looks to the future of adaptive climbing

Since making a splash in the climbing world after she was featured in the 2017 documentary “Stumped,” which chronicled her aim to climb a 5.12a route in Eldorado Canyon, paraclimber Maureen “Mo” Beck has continued pushing to new heights.

Beck was born without her lower left arm, which didn’t stop her from trying any sport she pleased, including competitive climbing during college. In 2013, she competed in her first adaptive competition and she hasn’t looked back. After winning two IFSC World Paraclimbing Championships, claiming six national titles and earning the title of 2019 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, she now wants to remove barriers for other climbers who face challenges.

As an instructor at Boulder-based nonprofit Paradox Sports, she aims to make climbing more accessible for adaptive athletes by educating climbing gyms about how to better work with people with disabilities.

“The goal is that if someone comes into a climbing gym in a wheelchair, the person behind the desk won’t just give you a blank stare, but recognize that with a few adjustments, that person can climb like anybody else,” she says.

Beck, who is a member of USA Climbing’s Adaptive Committee, says she’s also excited to see the sport of competitive adaptive climbing blossom. She looks to reclaim her title at the next World Championships in Hachioji, Japan, this August among stiff competition.“It’s so cool,” she says. “There are so many strong competitors out there now.”

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