Abigail Robinson is a member of the GB Paraclimbing Team, and has had some pretty incredible successes this year. Here’s the second in our mini-series of personal success stories from leading British climbers.
Personal celebration: Women’s B2 World Champion
“I started climbing around the age of 13 and, although I was having some difficulty with my sight, I was relatively unaware that it was anything serious. However, when I turned 17, I was diagnosed with a degenerative eye condition called ‘Stargardts disease’, which causes a gradual loss of my central vision. I took this news pretty well and I was determined it wouldn’t stop me climbing or take away my independence; I would describe my sight/blind spot at the moment to be like holding a football up in front of your face and my colour vision is also quite limited.
After a friend encouraged me to check out the BMC paraclimbing series, I had the amazing opportunity of being invited to join the GB Paraclimbing Team. I entered my first two international competitions with the team this year (including the World Championships, Innsbruck) and managed to secure gold in both, gaining the title of Women’s B2 World Champion.
When I climb, I use a sight guide, who talks me through the route beforehand and points out any tricky moves that I should remember; then she speaks to me through a headset while I’m on the wall and describes the direction, shape and distance of each hold as I climb and basically acts as my eyes. One of the things I really struggled with initially when being diagnosed with my condition and then joining the team was feeling like I belonged somewhere; but standing on top of the podium next to two incredibly strong women that had very similar experiences to me was, by far, the most amazing feeling in the world.”