He climbed El Capitan, without the use of his legs

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Enock Glidden climbs El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. (Photo provided)

When Enock Glidden was younger, he’d go into the woods and sometimes he’d get stuck.

But it wasn’t like he’d could just walk out. Glidden was born with spina bifida, a birth defect that occurs when the spine and spinal cord don’t form properly. Glidden’s legs didn’t work and he got around in a wheelchair in those woods. But that didn’t stop him.

“I used to set off into the woods in my wheelchair and just push until I couldn’t go anymore,” he recalled in an interview with the Hungry Horse News. “I then would get out of my wheelchair and drag my chair until I would either find another path or I had to turn around.”

Glidden didn’t let his disability slow him down. Growing up in a small town in Maine, he’d ride his wheelchair the 10 miles to school, up a long steep hill. The hill took a long time to ascend.

It took a minute or so to get down. He once clocked himself at 56 miles an hour — 31 more than the posted speed limit.

From wheelchair racing to getting stuck in the woods, Glidden got into rock and mountain climbing. In 2016, he climbed El Capitan, the heralded peak in Yosemite National Park.

The worst part?

“The worst part of climbing El Cap was the descent. It took 17 hours. I was tied down to a rescue litter the entire time. It was dusty and the sharp manzanita bushes were cutting everyone’s legs and digging into my back. It was actually quite brutal,” he said.

A motivational speaker as well, Glidden will be in the Flathead Valley this week to speak to the Boys and Girls Club members in Columbia Falls and then for a presentation of his life and adventures at 7 p.m. Oct. 17 (Thursday) at Casey’s in Whitefish. Tickets are $10 and proceeds benefit the club.

During the presentation he’ll demonstrate how he climbs without the use of his legs.

He said he used to work at his club in Maine and wanted to reach out to other clubs across the country.

“I received a Challenged Athletes Foundation Grant this past spring and decided I wanted to use it not only for climbing but to pay it forward to other organizations. I actually just picked places I had never been and then emailed organizations to try to set up fundraisers at each location. The Boys and Girls clubs are something I believe in because I used to work at a club in Maine,” he said. “My hope what people take away from my presentation is the sense that nothing is impossible. If you try and ask for help that there is always a way to do something. I will be talking about the ways I have accomplished many things in my life and I’m showing a movie of my adventures in Yosemite.”

Glidden’s next adventure?

“I am finally going to attempt Mount Rainier next June. This whole journey began with the loss of my friend Nick Hall on Mount Rainier and I will finally get the opportunity to honor his memory by ascending the mountain. If the weather and everything else works in my favor of course,” he said.

He also hopes to get out in the woods during his visit to Montana.

You can view Glidden’s website and blog at: <URL destination="http://http://www.gobeyondthefence.com">www.gobeyondthefence.com

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