At Brooklyn Boulders, we know expanding and exploring human potential is not a “one size fits all” journey. It’s a process fueled by diverse perspectives, abilities, and experiences. However, there’s a difference between knowing it and understanding it through firsthand knowledge. That’s why we’re proud to share three podcast interviews featuring Kareemah Batts, a BKB climber, cancer survivor, amputee, founder of Adaptive Climbing Group (ACG), overall badass, and unrelenting explorer of human potential.
Her organization, ACG, creates affordable, accessible, and sustainable climbing opportunities for people with disabilities as they participate in the sport together. Since its early days at Brooklyn Boulders in 2012, Kareemah’s vision for ACG has continued to grow into a community of climbers who climb indoors, outdoors, all year around.
How do they climb? Hint: They use their already existing abilities to make it happen, just like everyone else. As Kareemah said during her recent interview with the podcast She Explores, “The word ‘disability’ is the word given to us used in society, right? Like something’s missing or something’s wrong. And I don’t think of it as that. I think of it as…my abilities are different than yours.”
Want to learn more? Check out the three podcasts linked below, where you’ll hear Kareemah talk about her own experiences, the importance of ACG and disability awareness, the many definitions of diversity, and her love of climbing—and that’s just for starters. Bottomline? She’s not here for pity, friends. She’s here to climb (and help others do the same).
If you want to help support the ACG community, you can donate by clicking here and/or by donating to the Brooklyn Boulders Foundation (BKBF), our non-profit that supports ACG alongside other organizations (e.g., City Rocks for inner city youth). If you can’t afford to donate, then we ask that you at least pay it forward by sharing the interviews below with friends and family in the spirit of learning new things and sharing your #bkblove.
Podcast: Sterling Rope | Episode 4: Kareemah Batts: Defying the Odds
Hosted by Kevin Jorgeson
In her late twenties, Kareemah Batts was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma, a super rare cancer that strikes young adults. Rather than endure multiple surgeries to battle the illness, Kareemah opted for amputation of her left leg below the knee. In her recovery, the New York City native discovered a passion for climbing and uncovered a penchant for defying the odds. As founder of the Adaptive Climbing Group, she has provided inspirational pathways for fellow amputees and adaptive climbers to discover the sport and has worked tirelessly to help redefine athleticism in the climbing culture.
Podcast: Safety Third | Episode: Diversity Is More Than Color
Hosted by Paddy O’Connell
Kareemah Batts is many things. A woman. A climber. An African American. A cancer survivor. An amputee. A self-described “broke girl from Flatbush.” She’s not just one thing. After being overlooked for conversations about diversity in the outdoor world, Kareemah took it upon herself to jumpstart a new conversation — she wants to expand the outdoor community’s definition of diversity and to rethink how we approach inclusivity. Because, as it turns out, diversity is a pretty damn diverse subject.
Podcast: She Explores | Episode 68: Perfectly Capable of Climbing
Hosted by Gale Straub
Kareemah Batts is a cancer survivor and the founder of Adaptive Climbing Group. After finding climbing after losing part of her leg to cancer, Kareemah wanted to share the feeling she has on the wall with others.