Injured Climber Back in the Game; New Haven Man's Ascent of Mount Washington Will Help Other Disabled Athletes

By Shelton, Jim | New Haven Register (New Haven, CT), March 9, 2012 | Go to article overview

Injured Climber Back in the Game; New Haven Man's Ascent of Mount Washington Will Help Other Disabled Athletes


Shelton, Jim, New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)


By Jim Shelton

Register Staff jshelton@nhregister.com

NEW HAVEN -- Climbing a mountain nearly killed Mike Reddy three years ago. This weekend, he'll climb another one to save his soul.

Using special gear, the 37-year-old Yale University doctoral candidate will climb a modest 2,500 feet up New Hampshire's Mt. Washington, the highest peak in the Northeast. It's part of the 150 Peaks Project, a national effort by Paradox Sports to encourage open access to mountain areas for disabled athletes.

"An active lifestyle isn't restricted to the able-bodied," says Reddy, an avid climber whose athletic travels have taken him to many far-flung peaks. "The outdoors should be available to everyone."

Even so, Reddy acknowledges his battle with despair was every bit as challenging as the ice walls and rock faces he tackled before his accident.

"This climb is the first mountain ascent I've attempted since then," he says. "Until I try it again, I won't be right."

Reddy fell on June 30, 2009, during a climb up Mt. Sneffels, just outside Ouray, Colo. He was about 12,500 feet up the mountain, using ice axes and boots with crampons to gain traction.

His climbing buddy, Arne Bomblies, was resting on a nearby "snow bench." Reddy pivoted to sit next to Bomblies, when his footing gave way.

Suddenly he was in free fall, sliding on his belly down the 45- degree slope. His boots snagged something, snapping his body upright, shattering his right ankle and then flipping him on his back. He slid nearly 150 feet and slammed into a boulder. …

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