Rock climbing

A physiotherapist proves a point on the Richmond climbing wall

RICHMOND, Va. — Hunter Obenchain never thought he’d try rock climbing six months ago. But, being an advocate for the activity and testifying about his testing, Obenchain suddenly found himself climbing as much as he could, indoors and out. What he likes about it is hard to put into one or two words.

“I mean, everything, right? said Obenchain. “There’s adrenaline. It’s so cool to do something unique. It’s physical and I’m a big fan of doing physical things.”

In his daily work as a physiotherapist at Chippenham Johnston-Willis Hospital, Obenchain constantly encourages others to practice what he preaches.

“I teach people to walk again or do physical activities that they never thought they could do again,” he said. “There are a ton of people who are in wheelchairs or have amputations. They don’t think they are capable of doing this stuff.”


But there is a company out there to prove them wrong.

Paradox Sports is a Colorado-based company dedicated to providing adaptive climbing opportunities that, as its website states, defy convention.

The Triangle Rock Club of Richmond offered its customers a way to help Paradox and its initiatives. Climb a mile of walls in a month. The walls are 30 or 50 feet high.

“I don’t know the exact number. If you climb the big walls, I think it was a little over 100,” he said.

It takes 106 ascents of the 50ft wall and 176 ascents of the 30ft wall to get to one mile. Divide that by 30 days in a month and that’s a lot of travel along those walls.

“Unfortunately with life and work, I can’t come every day, so usually when I come I climb about 30 short walls a day,” ??? said.

Due to a scheduled trip, Obenchain actually completed his mile in three weeks instead of a full month. He is trying to raise $1,000 for his efforts to benefit Paradox.

He is living proof of the benefits of being active in general and taking on challenges never thought possible, regardless of disability or obstacle.

Hunter Obenchain 03.png


“When I watched people climb, I thought I could never do that,” he said. “The more I did it, the better I got. It’s the same with them. They’re very intimidated to do it at first, like a lot of people, but once you start doing it, get into it. the movement of things, you surround yourself with the right people, like paradox climbing, they’ll show you the ropes, no pun intended.”

“Looking at their faces and seeing the excitement they feel when they’re able to do something they didn’t think they could do. It’s so rewarding, it’s so great to see it for them.”