Alpine Tower Climbing for People with Prosthetics

It's 50 feet tall, made of telephone poles, ropes, and wooden platforms. It is at the Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, South Carolina and is used to create self-confidence, encourage team work, fitness and fun.

The 50 foot tall Alpine Tower

About 20 people (able-bodied, some with prosthetics or paraplegia) took part in the April, 2004 Alpine Tower Climb Clinic at Warren Wilson College, TN. The 50 foot high tower looks pretty impressive from the ground!

Dave wearing a safety harness Everyone wears a safety harness. If Dave weren't wearing shorts you probably wouldn't know that his lower left leg has been replaced by a prosthesis. His harness is the same as those worn by most people.

Dave is belayed by a much lighter lady.

If Dave loses his grip while climbing he is connected to a pulley system that enables his belayer to stop his fall even though she weighs much less than him.

Niki is close to Dave to help if needed

The Alpine Tower builds self-confidence, trust, and teamwork. Niki is there to help Dave if he needs it.

The Tower starts with a ladder

The tower has both easy and difficult tasks. Of course, "easy" is a relative term. If heights bother you, just climbing that first ladder is difficult.

The first platform is a haven.

The first platform is a safe haven for a quick rest before continuing. It gives you a chance to plan your route further - like Dave.

Pole climb with footholds

Subsequent tasks get a little more difficult - and a lot higher.

Dave, switching to a slanted pole

Dave has switched from the vertical pole climb to a slanted pole. He has to keep his climbing ropes from getting tangled as he nears the top.

Dave giving impromptu prosthetics class

When several students started asking Dave questions about his prosthetic it turned into an impromptu class as he demonstrated how his artificial leg works and is put together.
It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day. Everyone had a wonderful time and learned a little about the Abilities of people with disabilities.