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Adaptive Climbing Group National Competition | Adam Payne

Adam Payne rules the wall: with yet another year of competing in adaptive climbing, his grit and wit are just as sharp as his skill.

adam payne

Brooklyn Boulders Foundation’s mission is to positively impact our environment, inner city youth, and persons with disabilities, through physical movement and  creative expression.

The Adaptive Climbing Group‘s mission is to offer the chance for disabled climbers to learn techniques that adapt to their personal abilities strengthens resolve, keep fit, have fun, and help new climbers reach the top. . As a sponsored program of the Brooklyn Boulders Foundation, we have partnered with ACG to grow the adaptive climbing communities in Brooklyn, Boston, and Chicago.

BKBF X ACG are training and sending three competitors to the USA Adaptive Climbing National Championship in Kennesaw, Georgia on July 17th. To donate please visit:


Adam Payne strikes again: competing yet again in this year’s adaptive climbing nationals, he crushes competitors with his determination, charisma, and dirtbag sense of humor. Is he ready to dominate again? Let’s find out.


You’re competing in nationals. Which category?

The Neurological Physical  disability category.


How many times have you competed?
This will be my fifth time. The second time competing I got a gold– with ABS. And then I did nationals, I won bronze.Out of six competitions I’ve medaled in three of them.

Adam Payne boasts his ABS gold medal.
Adam Payne boasts his ABS gold medal.

How did you feel for the first competition?
Lousy. I didn’t boulder very long. I think I started V0. I did one route on the whole wall. But it woke up competitive spirit, and now I’m climbing again.

It’s a blessing and a curse, that I have a competitive spirit.

How specifically did the first competition push you?
As Kareemah says, I was upset for like a minute. And then I just came back and started training harder.

What about the second competition?
That was great because I won!

How did you start climbing and how many years?
I’ve been climbing for 3 years. I met Kareemah one day at Eastern Mountain Sports and I was looking for a tent, I figured that if I was gonna bike across the country I’d camp a lot. We talked, and she invited me here. Took me a month to show up– I had climbed before, and I basically picked up where I left off. It was nice.

What other outdoor sports do you enjoy?
I bike. When I was in high school and college I used to hike, bike, and camp a lot– I’ve been active most of my life.

devils steps
The Devil’s Steps challenge on American Ninja Warrior

Do you have any sports on your list?
I really would like to get on American Ninja Warrior. I love watching it. I saw a climber trying it– he was filming his audition video at The Beast! I’d be okay as a climber but like– the Devil’s Steps– I don’t think I can do them. The salmon ladder I can probably do. I couldn’t do the half pipe attack– because you have to run, and I can barely walk. I was trying to think if I can do it in wheelchair, but then I’d have to part ways with the chair.


What is your goal for the upcoming competition?

To win. Well, actually my friend carlos is competing. Well he beat me last year. He won gold and I won bronze. The guy who won silver isn’t competing this year.


Who do you look for to inspire you to climb?

Jain Kim. She’s slow, she’s deliberate, she rests a lot. Also Ronald Dickson. He’s an adaptive climber– an amputee.


Read more about how Adam overcomes ataxia, a rare degenerative disorder, in his conquers and climbs.


On July 17th The Adaptive Climbing Group is headed to Kennesaw, GA for the USA Adaptive Climbing National Championship! With your support, BKBF and ACG can cover costs of the competition. Visit our GoFundMe page to donate.

Your donation will help support travel & hotel accommodations and registration fees for this year’s adaptive climbers to compete.

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