Universal Challenge

Making challenge courses accessible and usable for all

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Activities and Adaptations


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Accessing High Elements

There are many different ways to access a high ropes course. Each course is built in its own specific way depending upon the builder. But there are ways to make your course accessible even if your only current access is by climbing.

Examples of Inclusive Options:

  • A haul system can be created that utilizes a 3 to 1 or 4 to 1 mechanical advantage system that enables a participant to pull a third of their body weight to the top if using the 3 to 1 or a quarter of their weight if using a 4 to 1.

  • Supportive seating or a full body harness can be used. There are a variety of designs that can be utilized such as a spreader bar‚ a piece of material thoughtfully dubbed the “bootie bag”‚ and a sling seat.

  • An adapted handlebar can be used to climb a fixed rope. This enables people of all ability levels to pull themselves to the top with the assist of a haul system.

  • This video clip shows a facilitator demonstrating a 4 to 1 system to raise himself up from a 
wheelchair to a high challenge element. Video courtesy of Bradford Woods.
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    This video clip shows a facilitator demonstrating a 4 to 1 system to raise himself up from a wheelchair to a high challenge element. Video courtesy of Bradford Woods.

    This is a photo of the metal pieces that make up the 4 to 1 haul system.
    4 to 1 mechanical haul system. (Photo by Bradford Woods.) A group of participants works together to complete a ground based challenge activity.

    This is a photo of a man wearing a helmet and sunglasses‚ pulls on a handlebar to raise himself  up to the high challenge element.
    Challenge participant utilizes a handlebar to raise himself out of his wheelchair and onto the high challenge element. (Photo by Bradford Woods.)

    This photo shows a young girl in a full body harness and helmet looking up towards the high element as she awaits her turn.
    A participant anticipates her trip to the top of the matted bridge. (Photo by Bradford Woods.)

    This photo shows two empty bootie bags hanging from the matted  bridge.
    Bootie bags hanging from the matted bridge. (Photo by Bradford Woods.)

    This photo shows a young girl wearing a full body harness and helmet while sitting in a bootie bag‚ smiling for the camera.   Other group members are acting as safety spotters.
    A participant gets ready take a trip utilizing a bootie bag. (Photo by Bradford Woods.)

    This photo shows a participant smiling for the camera as she is sitting in a sling seat and wearing a seat harness.
    A participant uses a seat harness and a sling seat for leg support. (Photo by Bradford Woods.)

    This photo shows a handle that can be utilized with various mechanical haul systems.
    Handle to use with mechanical haul systems. (Photo by Bradford Woods.)

    This photo is of a participants hands pulling on the handlebar to haul themselves up to a high challenge element.
    The handlebar can be used to climb a fixed rope with a haul system. (Photo by Bradford Woods.)

    This is a photo of a man wearing a helmet and sunglasses‚ pulls on a handlebar to raise himself  up to the high challenge element.
    Challenge participant utilizes a handlebar to raise himself out of his wheelchair and onto the high challenge element. (Photo by Bradford Woods.)


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