Maureen Beck: Your 2020 West Virginia Wild Speaker
“Climbing is kind of a great equalizer. The rock doesn’t care who you are.”
When faced with a route to climb, we all have our own issues and challenges to overcome. Maybe you’re short or tall or big booty-ed or older or younger or working around a nagging old injury.
Maureen Beck just happens to be missing her left hand.
Maureen “Mo” Beck, now a 2x Gold Medalist rock climber, will take the mic on Friday night of West Virginia Wild to share the story of her expedition to Lotus Flower Tower in the Northwest Territories of Canada with adaptive climbing partner Jim Ewing. This expedition would later become a documentary, Adaptive, that follows the duo as they make the first adaptive ascent attempt of the classic climb.
Yet before all the accolades and big mountain adventures, Mo was a 12 year old living in Maine near Acadia National Park. Born without her left hand and forearm, her parents once offered to send her to camp for disable kids. She balked at the idea preferring the attitude of, “Watch me.” She was quick to adapt her favorite outdoor activities finding workarounds that might include duct tape. All the while being insistent on not being treated any differently than other kids.
It took just one rock climbing excursion with her Girl Scout troop to get Mo hooked on climbing. She devoured every magazine and book while saving up money to hire a guide to teach her the “ropes.”
Years later she would move to Colorado where she would discover the unexpected – a community of bad ass athletes who climbed just as hard as she did. They too were missing limbs or in a wheel chair or blind, and they were crushers. Maureen had found her people.
Encouraged by her new Paradox sports community, Maureen began competing at the national and world levels. Her desire and dedication to win, has won her four national titles, a gold medal at the 2014 Paraclimbing World Championships in Spain and defended that title with a gold medal at the 2016 World Championships in Paris.
Maureen starred in the 2017 Film “Stumped” which has won numerous awards and toured hundreds of cities all over the world, and in the 2019 film ‘Adaptive’. Mo is an athlete for The North Face, Petzl, Sterling Rope and Scarpa.
Most recently she was named a 2019 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year.
Maureen is your Keynote Speaker on Friday Night
She takes the mic on Friday night during Wild to share the unstoppable story of her first ascent attempt expedition to the Northwest Territories of Canada. Yeah 💪 And later released as the documentary “Adaptive.”
Adaptive follows her and adaptive climber Jim Ewing as they attempt the first all-adaptive ascent of the classic and deeply remote Lotus Flower Tower (5.10+) in Canada’s Cirque of the Unclimbables.
Throughout the talk, she’ll share clips of the film plus some of her own personal footage from the expedition. I had the opportunity to watch her speak over the winter. Not only is she an inspiring speaker, but she is incredibly relatable and real. A no bullshit kind of speaker that will answer your questions honestly. Me? I was blown away about how she described how she ice climbs – a sport that generally requires 2 ice tools. Plus, she packs in some good humor.
Want to see Maureen Beck speak at 2020’s West Virginia Wild? Head on over to the trip page for full details and to book.