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Disability Bitch hates disabled mountain climbers

22nd October 2009

Readers, a few weeks ago, there was no disability based news worth commenting on, and certainly nothing to Bitch about, so I asked you to text me if you were, perhaps, half way up a mountain - I was referring to that great disability cliche of mountain climbing, of course.
Disability Bitch ascends
No one did text me, which was lucky because I HATE DISABLED MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS and would only have mocked anyone who'd attempted to scale one of these pointy geographical monstrosities.

See, I do not find disabled adventurers inspiring. I find them irritating. These people do not understand that the entire point of being handi-incapable is that you get to sit on your sofa eating doughnuts.

Time and time again the press latch on to stories of disabled people rising above sensible altitude levels, pushing their broken bodies beyond natural limits, and then they go and celebrate them as if they were some kind of example to the rest of disabledkind!!! Well ... THEY ARE NOT AN EXAMPLE TO ME.
It’s not just that I’m lazy, although I am, it’s that it takes me all the energy I can muster to wobble to my local coffee shop on the end of my walking stick. The fact I can only go such a short distance before collapsing into the nearest sofa demanding painkillers, does not make me a lesser person than the ones who drag themselves up mountains. I know what I can and can't do and I know how to not do it in style. So, anyone pushing themselves up a mountain without fully knowing what they're doing is not heroic, they're idiotic.

On that basis, readers, this week I’ve been cheered. I found a disabled mountain adventure which DID genuinely inspire me, if only for a minute or two.
Before you get anxious, it does NOT involve a triumph-over-adversity tale where an insufficiently limbed individual crawls up some improbable landmark to much applause. This week the news was all about a disabled person who tried to climb a mountain, but failed. Not just my favourite news headline of the week, but of this year, this decade and possibly my entire life!
View from Mount Snowdon
Details of what happened are sketchy. I’m working on discovering a few more, but so far what we know is that a wheelchair user attempted to scale Mount Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales and one of the highest in Great Britain. And with him he had six non-disabled pals.

Here's the story as reported by BBC Wales, it's quite beautiful: Men criticised for wheelchair run

The group in question were martial arts enthusiasts and their ascent was seemingly part of a bigger event: I understand martial artists from across the country were aiming to break various mountain-based records in order to raise money for a young woman with cerebral palsy who needs new mobility equipment.
Things didn’t go entirely to plan for one group from Coventry, however. They managed to get half way up the mountain but then it became a bit of a slog, and the able-bodieds realised they wouldn’t be strong enough to give the wheelchair user the assistance he needed to get to the top. So. What did they do? You guessed it: they left him there, halfway up a mountain, and carried onto the peak themselves.

When they worked out they would be too tired to help their mate back down to the bottom, mountain rescue were called to assist him instead - we're not sure if it was the disabled guy or his mates who called them.
Snowdon train
Mountain Rescue told us that, as they were carrying him down, they noticed some lads following behind. Upon being challenged, they admitted to being his mates and they were duly roped into helping once more. Cheeky, no?

You’ll be glad to know it ended happily and the wheelchair user was put on a train down to the foot of the mountain, with no long term damage. But let’s just say the mountain rescue team who brought our compatriot down, are not especially impressed.

I, however, am delighted. Finally we’ve uncovered the truth about 'inspirational’ disabled people and their misguided outdoor adventures! Sometimes we’d all be better off staying at home: fact! And now I’ve been proved right, let’s all have another doughnut in celebration.
I don’t want to get personal but can I suggest that the disabled gentleman involved a) plans his adventures better in future; and b) gets some new friends. After all, most town centres are not wheelchair accessible so it seems unlikely that the highest mountain in Wales would be. Though disabled people have scaled Snowdon before, they have done so after careful forward planning. That's Careful Forward Planning, Mr Snowdon-climber!
Disability Bitch in horror
Still, let's look at it from his perspective for a minute. If I got stuck halfway up a mountain, I’d want my chums to help me back down again, not plough on regardless. Probably I should go tohell for my next observation: while raising money for a disabled woman by climbing a mountain is extremely big-hearted and noble, leaving your disabled mate half way up that same mountain is a distinctly uncharitable thing to do and does sort of undermine the whole ‘compassion for disabled people’ thing you had going on.
Now for the moral of this story. 'Novice climber gets stuck up mountain' is hardly a news story. According to the rescue team, people underestimate Snowdon all the time and it’s not especially unusual for inexperienced climbers to make these sort of mistakes: it’s just novel that one of the participants on this occasion was a wheelchair user. And it was because he was a wheelchair user that his mishap made national headlines. So, would-be inspirational mountain-climbing crips, take heed: if your adventure goes wrong, you may become a national laughing stock. Think on that before you start planning your inspirational speeches, yeah?


Several weeks ago, I revealed that Heather Mills is rumoured to be training for the upcoming series of Dancing on Ice. It seems rehearsals are not going well: apparently ice dance supremo and celebrity coach Christopher Dean had to abandon training recently when his son was struck down by swine flu. If it’s playing on Hev’s mind she’s not showing it: this week on her Twitter page she revealed 15 people have lost legs this week and she’s been counselling them all.


This week on Facebook my virtual chums have been discussing disability PR campaigns they’d like to see and helping me track down the mystery Snowdonian climbers. Don’t climb a mountain: stay on the sofa and join my online throng here.


    • 1. At 04:29am on 24 Oct 2009, lyrogersle wrote:

      Bless you. If I get wind of one more sad case who "triumphs over disability" by doing something sensible people would not think of doing I am going to join you (in spirit) on upholstery and eat doughnuts. We are lawyers, doctors, writers, teachers, and everything else the experts said we could not be... why be stupid? We don't have the luxury of stupidity yet. How about staying sane and communicating? How's that for an airless climb?

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    • 2. At 9:23pm on 24 Oct 2009, Tamsin wrote:

      How sad that your lazy attitude consumes you that you dishonor those who don't let their disability let it become their inability. I must not have been disabled long enough to be consumed by your couch potato ethos. I say praise those who inspire me, have guts, enthusiasm and passion for a belief that they can still climb any mountain. Long live those who are active, praise those who attempt the things that challenge them. If they have to prove their wealth by their accomplishes, why not? I too suffer dragging myself just to the post box. Their accomplishments don't undermine yours, I think your just trying to ease the guilt so you can reach for your next donut. True?

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    • 3. At 10:47pm on 29 Oct 2009, andystomp wrote:

      why is d.bitch being lazy its ok to do nothing you don't have to climb a mountain to feel alive I have traveled the world right from my armchair through the T.V Other than that I don't do anything and I love it and I am sick of people insulting my lifestile everytime I hear someone being praised for getting out there and not just sitting on the're backside .ITS OK TO DO NOTHING if thats what you want to do.

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