About Melinda

About Melinda

I grew up in Budapest (Hungary). At the age of 24, I moved to Amsterdam (the Netherlands) for studies and work. There, in the low-lands, I started climbing after my 30th birthday. As you can imagine, I’ve mostly climbed on artificial but colorful holds in a cozy climbing hall. Except for occasional outdoor climbing trips (of which I wish there would have been many more!), this has remained so even after moving to Berlin (Germany) in 2015.

Climbing is my sport because it both challenges and teaches me to bring the best out of myself in terms of problem solving, physical ability and mental strength. With some creativity and training, I am able to find my way to the top of more and more challenging routes even without fingers on my left hand, which increased my self-confidence and my appreciation of my “little hand”.

In 2016, with almost 4 years of climbing experience in my limbs, I decided to start competing at international paraclimbing competitions (in the absence of national ones) in order to promote and raise awareness to climbing with a handicap in my home countries (Germany, Hungary and the Netherlands). I compete in the colors of Hungary, but in my heart I carry a European identity. At the 2016 Paraclimbing World Championship in Paris, I took home the silver medal. Find out more about my climbing achievements here.

In this blog post, you can learn more about what drives my enthusiasm for climbing and my road to the 2016 World Championship in Paris.

Experiencing the friendly but small paraclimbing competition scene, solidified my determination to raise awareness that climbing is more than possible and fun for people with any kind of disabilities. In my experience, it is actually therapeutic for both body and soul. To spread this message, I mostly just go out to different climbing/bouldering gyms and participate in amateur competitions to show an example and engage with people. So far, I only encountered very positive feedback. Now, I’m also more involved in getting my story to the public, and organizing events to help build a community of climbers with disabilities and let others try it for the first time. For example, almost 60 people with disabilities participated in the Paraclimbing Day at DAV Kletterzentrum Berlin in March 2017 (read here).

Outside of climbing, my passion is hiking and going on wild camping trips in Norway (which sadly only happens once per year). I love the beauty of nature, the simplicity of living, the cloudberries and Norwegian cuisine back in town. When at home, I enjoy preparing healthy meals and snacks. As a nature enthusiast, I try to live in a way to limit my ecological footprint on earth.

I’m also writing my PhD dissertation in development economics in Amsterdam (website).