Anoushé Husain is a public speaker, civil servant and paraclimber refusing to let any barriers get in her way. Born missing her right arm below the elbow and experiencing multiple health conditions throughout her life, Anoushé shares her experiences in the build up to Round 2 of the Paraseries at the Castle on 17th October.
Did you know that there’s a national climbing series for differently-abled climbers? I had no clue when I started climbing and luckily found out from one of the charities I’m affiliated with.
The series is called the National Paraclimbing series. It’s open to any level paraclimber, including if you’re absolutely brand new! Those who win within their category might get invited to join Team GB.
When I found out about the series, I was so new to climbing that I was quite intimidated by the thought of competing. I didn’t know the format and didn’t know any other paraclimbers so I decided to wait a year, pick up some experience, get more comfortable on the wall and join in last year.
I have to say, I kind of regret not having gone as a complete newbie. Everyone was really welcoming and I would have made new friends and become a member of the paraclimbing family much earlier. Yes, it’s a competition, but you know what? No one really treats it like one. The atmosphere is great, everyone is supportive. You can ask all the questions and actually meet other climbers who are also trying to get around their own limitations. It felt incredibly good and comforting to meet other climbers who really understand the journey I was on and really got it.
I was born missing my right arm below the elbow, had cancer and live with a couple of interesting chronic health issues which are quite tough to manage. Sometimes when I ask my my partners who have all their limbs how they would climb something, it can feel awkward for me but I sensed none of that with the paraclimbers. Everyone was there to support and encourage. There are lots of different disability categories covering all sorts of conditions, visible disabilities and invisible or chronic issues too so go check out if you’re eligible! You don’t need to know how to climb and you don’t need to own your own equipment!
Photo: Sandy Carr
During one of the competitions, I wasn’t feeling very well and got very nervous while I was climbing on one of the routes. The route wasn’t particularly difficult but I was struggling with it, loads of other climbers and friends came to my route to encourage me up the route and get past that specific point. When I got down, everyone was super supportive and helped me feel less shaky.
The climbing community as a whole is supportive, encouraging and friendly. The paraclimbing community is way more than that. They are friends, they are family and they are role models. Even though some of us only got to know each other through the competitions and haven’t met since, we chat online, share tips and tricks, encourage each other on projects and support each other through our tough times. My climbing changed once I met them. If before I would get discouraged on a route, today, I carry on trying and ask them for advice.
This year Round 2 will be held at Castle on the 17th of October. I can’t wait. Being a Castle local, I’m really proud that they are hosting the competition. I can’t think of a better place. Registration can be done via the BMC website here.
As I have been talking about my climbing journey, I’ll also be sharing my experiences of this year’s paraclimbing series. Just follow my Facebook page, Instagram account and website.