In the run up to the IFSC Paraclimbing World Championships, September 14-18, we are profiling the GB Paraclimbing Team who have been training all year to be in a strong position to challenge for a podium place at the Paris event.
Thanks to a sponsorship deal with Birchall Blackburn Law, the GB paraclimbing team is able to compete in a number of international competitions this year, including the all-important World Championships.
Dave Bowes, aged 34, lives in Wirral but ‘out on the rocks’ is his real home. He has been climbing for 16 years and started as a skinny university student after a year of trying to put on weight with alcohol and kebabs – without success. He tried climbing and put on two-and-a-half stone in five months and has been a healthy weight ever since.
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to start climbing?
Simply turn up and have fun. Either take a mate or make friends there. It’s a really open, friendly and welcoming environment at all levels so you won’t feel out of place.
Where is your favourite place to climb?
Thailand has fantastic rock, beautiful culture and people, and the climber lifestyle out there is unlike anywhere I’ve experienced. Everyone is your brother, sister and best friend, before you’ve even meet them.
What is your proudest moment?
Every time I stop and think to look back over the past nine years since my brain injury and realise how far I’ve come and what I’ve achieved.
What is the toughest lesson you have learned?
People are too quick to judge you based on appearances.
What are your goals for the future?
Increase awareness of hidden disabilities and spread the word about the brain injury charity, Headway. I’m aiming to be World Champion, get more disabled people climbing, be in the Paralympics, and maybe even the Winter Olympics for ice climbing.
What are your strengths?
In climbing it is power, finger strength and technique. In life it is helping people.
What is your favourite film and why?
I wish I could remember! The one beauty of a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is that I practically always watch films as if it was my first time.
Which member of the GB Paraclimbing team talks the most and what do they talk about?
Phil, non-stop climbing talk! He’s a walking, talking climbing thesaurus.
What was the last thing you watched on TV and why?
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (I have three kids under five).
If you could rescue one possession from your burning home what would it be and why?
Nothing’s worth setting fire to my beard for! Well maybe my kids… But I really like my beard.