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Climbing Mountains with Paralysis: The AdvenChair Journey

May 30, 2024

The AdvenChair, a new wheelchair designed to enable people with paralysis to do adventurous climbing, has an interesting personal backstory. The AdvenChair, an all-terrain wheelchair featuring an adjustable sit-ski seat crafted from mountain-bike parts, is the invention of Geoff Babb.

After a stroke in 2005 left Babb paralyzed with limited use of one hand, he became determined to return to his active lifestyle.

“Being outside was really important to me,” Babb said. “But I found out right away that the standard wheelchair wasn’t going to allow me to be outside the way I would like to be. So I started experimenting and modifying a standard chair.”

With the help of his friend, a helicopter mechanic, he developed the AdvenChair 1.0. The prototype featured large tires, a detachable front wheel, handbrakes, and a harness designed to navigate steep terrain.

In May 2022, Babb, and his team finally set out on the Bright Angel Trail, located at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. He and his AdvenChair made it the entire four-day, 20-mile trek – accessing nature previously out of reach.

The Bright Angel Trail is challenging, descending 4,800 feet with water bars, rock obstacles, and stretches of mud and sand. Despite its difficulty, the team completed the four-day trip, covering five miles of intense terrain each day. Remarkably, the chair endured the journey.

He hopes his story and the AdvenChair will be an inspiration to other people in his situation.

“My goal is to have these chairs in widespread use throughout the world within the next five years. And through the Onward Project, LLC, I hope to have an extensive network of users sharing their AdvenChair stories and inspiring messages around the globe. Thank you for supporting me on this exciting journey.”

 

DREAM BOLDLY: The Grand AdvenChair, an award-winning documentary that follows Geoff Babb and his expedition team’s four-day journey to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back, is currently being screened by film festivals from California to Cannes. You can watch the trailer here: DREAM BOLDLY The Grand AdvenChair Trailer from Smith Rock TV on Vimeo.

 

To learn more about the AdvenChair and how you can try one click here.

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