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Climbers Like Me: Kimberly

Tell us about yourself - who are you and what do you love doing?

Kimber Cross - I’m a national board certified teacher who currently teaches kindergarten. When I’m not educating, I am instructing and leading climbs for The Mountaineers in their basic and intermediate alpine courses. (It’s a volunteer based organization in Washington state.) I love ice climbing, skiing, and rock climbing. I was born with one hand, so I identify as an adaptive athlete, or an athlete with adaptive needs.

Give us three words that you identify with most?

Consistency, determination, patience.

What brings you the most joy outdoors?

Alpine sunrises. Waking up at 1am for a summit push under the stars and watching the morning come slowly in a burst of brilliant colors while on a climb up one of the many volcanoes in my state brings deep joy.

What has been your biggest challenge to date?

Climbing the North Ridge of Kulshan (Mt. Baker) twice and the Kautz route on Tahoma (Mt. Rainier) have been challenging and steep ice routes using my prosthetic ice tool. Not only was I challenged in the physicality and technical skills, but climbing with a limb difference brought a unique set of needs and procedures to be successful. All were successful summits and the first disabled ascents with a prosthetic tool.

If you could share a core value or abiding principle with others, what would it be?

If you don’t quit, you win. When I sought to have my prosthetic ice tool created, or when I had to learn how to climb with one hand, I had this “can’t. will. did.” mentality. Modifying and adapting within the world of trad and ice climbing were the avenues to success.

Tell us one small change we can make as individuals to help our community?

Believe in the ever growing skills of yourself, or others no matter the stage of climbing. Encourage and affirm with patience and joy. When we can create healthy environments in the outdoor realm, true inclusivity grows.

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