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This is a photo of a group of people standing on a wooden beam in the woods‚ as they hold hands to keep their balance.
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Activities and Adaptations


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Climbing Tower

Description: A structure designed to simulate a rock climbing experience that contains many manufactured rock climbing holds. The participant attempts to scale the wall by using their arms and/or legs to push or pull themselves.

Photo of a participant climbing the tower at Bradfood Woods
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This video clip shows a participant climbing the tower at Bradford Woods with the assistance of a facilitator climbing in tandem. Video courtesy of Bradford Woods.

Examples of Inclusive Options:

  • The counterbalance is a system designed to aid a participant that does not possess sufficient strength to climb. A rope is hooked to the participant with weight attached to the other end that assists the participant during their ascent.

  • This tower was built with four sides to provide four levels of challenge. The design enables people with a wider range of ability levels to utilize the tower and have a memorable experience.

  • Full body harnesses are used with a front hook–in for participants who lack upper body control for this activity.

  • The large wooden blocks and cutouts on the wall enable participants who cannot grasp tiny climbing holds to make their climb with more ease.

    Please use caution when designing these options. Cutouts need to be large enough to not trap fingers or hands‚ and if they are large enough to put an arm or foot into‚ they need to be boxed in from behind so the appendage does not slide in to far. If the cutout is too large‚ an arm or leg could easily be caught in the opening and be broken in a short fall.
  • Platforms can be added to the wall to provide different points toward which participants can strive. They also allow for a place to sit and rest during a climb.

  • This is a photo of a climbing tower with four sides to provide different levels of challenge.  Red dots represent the path of a counter–balance weight system used in conjunction with the climbing tower.
    The path for the counter balance system is represented by red dots. (Photo by Bradford Woods.)

    In this photo‚ a young man wearing a safety harness and helmet‚ smiles from his wheelchair as he awaits his turn to climb the tower.  He is attached to the counter-balance ropes.  A woman stands to the side of this young man‚ ready to act as a safety spotter when his climb begins.
    A participant waits for his turn at the climbing tower with the assistance of the counter–balance system. (Photo by Bradford Woods.)

    This photo shows the pulley systems located on top of the climbing tower.  Red dots represent the path of a counter–balance weight system used in conjunction with the climbing tower.
    The red dots represent the path of the counter–balance system at the top of the climbing tower. (Photo by Bradford Woods.)

    This photo shows weights that are attached to climbing ropes to counter–balance a participant’s weight so that climbing the tower takes less physical exertion.
    Weights used in the counter-balance system. (Photo by Bradford Woods.)


    This photo shows a full length shot of the climbing tower with a group of people at the base of the tower preparing to climb.
    A group of participants gets ready to climb the tower. (Photo by Bradford Woods.)

    This photo shows a participant wearing a full body harness and helmet as she climbs up the tower.
    A participant works hard to climb the tower. (Photo by Bradford Woods.)

    This photo shows a facilitator assisting a participant in their climb.  The participant is wearing a full body harness‚ helmet and is also attached to the counter-balance system.
    A participant and facilitator work together to complete a “buddy–climb”. (Photo by Bradford Woods.)

    This photo shows a participants hand in a wall cutout.
    A participant uses a cutout in the wall to climb higher. (Photo by Bradford Woods.)

    This photo shows a girl wearing a full body harness‚ helmet‚ and the counter–balance ropes as she reaches for a 4x4 hold on the climbing tower to pull herself to the top.
    A challenge participant pulls herself up the climbing tower. (Photo by Bradford Woods.)

    This photo shows a man taking a break on the first platform of the climbing tower.
    A participant takes a break on the climbing tower. (Photo by Bradford Woods.)

    In this photo‚ a participant utilizing the full body harness and counter–balance system receives assistance from a facilitator in a buddy–climb to the first platform of the tower.
    A facilitator assists a participant make their goal of reaching the first platform of the climbing tower. (Photo by Bradford Woods.)


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