Paraclimber doesn't let disability get in her way

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BURLINGTON, Vt. “For me, not having a hand and rock climbing has always been a natural thing.”

Maureen Beck was born without her lower left arm, but that doesn't stop her from doing what she loves.

“Because of my disability I found the climbing community,” she said.

A filming session with her and other disabled athletes, turned into a documentary made by climber turned filmmaker Cedar Wright. The film went on to be a part of the Reel Rock Tour, featuring various rock climbing athletes from around the world.

“We’re real athletes we try really hard, we fail sometimes, and he just really wanted to help us tell the story. It’s the message were trying to send like, we don't want to just be an inspiration, we want to be actual athletes as well,” Beck said.

She lives in Colorado but graduated from UVM in 2009. Besides coming back for the documentary screening, she also climbed with the UVM climbing club. The same club she ran when she was a student.

“It's super exciting, it’s really cool to know that other ladies have been through kind of the whole college experience and continued their interest and passion for climbing,” said Joscie Norris.

Norris is a sophomore at the University of Vermont and the current head of the climbing club. She used to wonder if she would be accepted into the climbing community as a woman. That changed quickly once she became involved, and now gets to see what strong women like Beck, can accomplish.

“What Maureen was teaching people how ever many years ago, were still teaching kind of the same stuff, it's evolved a little bit, but it's kind of passing down that legacy and that passion for the outdoors,” Norris said.

Beck climbed with the club at Metrorock in Essex. She was thrilled to hear that there were women taking leadership roles at the college and the local outing club. She wants to inspire others by pushing boundaries, not because of a disability.

“I don't want credit for just being average or I don't want to be called inspiring just because I'm disabled, I want it to be because of something I'm doing, not just for the fact I'm missing my hand,” Beck said.