Stone Age Gym offers adaptive rock climbing sessions

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Adaptive Sports Program of New Mexico (ASPNM) and the Stone Age Climbing Gym North on Alameda teamed up to offer people with disabilities adaptive rock climbing sessions every fourth Friday of the month.

The sessions cost $12 and last from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

“It gives me a lot of confidence when I get up on there, and I think ‘Oh my goodness, maybe I shouldn’t be doing this,’ but then when I get up there I’m like, ‘Alright, I did it,’” said Mario Chavez, a board member with ASPNM.

Chavez needs a wheelchair to get around, but when it comes to rock wall climbing, he uses adaptive equipment like a lift chair.

The ASP of New Mexico has trained volunteers to help anyone with a disability during the sessions.

“It can be intimidating for anyone to try a new activity or maybe engage in an activity if you have to do things a little differently, so having this specific time to climb as a group, not only gives people a little bit of comfort and security, but also it kind of helps build their individual community with folks that might be able to commiserate,” said Camille Romero, the director of development for the ASP.

Building a supportive community is what the gym’s co-owner said they’re all about.

"People with disabilities are athletes too, so we see absolutely no difference between somebody with a disability and a regular person climbing. We just want to show them that they can do it. That it can be fun and that they’re welcomed here. It’s more offering an opportunity and give them a vision for what they can do,” said Cristina Radu, co-owner of Stone Age.

Radu said she also has other special nights for the LGBTQ+ and Black and Indigenous people, along with nights for ladies and high school students. She said the gym is for everyone, and is looking for more ways to offer a safe and fun environment space. They’ve also created a new website for community collaboration.

As for the adaptive climbing nights, the next one is May 28. There are 10 spots, going fast. People can call (505) 570-5710 ext 1.

"It excites me so much to know that there’s an outlet like this for people with disabilities,” said Mario Chavez.