Experience Grant for Wendy Ong

Experience Grant for Wendy Ong

March 18, 2017 0 By Hawkeye Johnson

Climbing is Wendy’s passion.

The GoHawkeye Foundation Sends Wendy to Chile …

Wendy Ong was introduced to climbing through skiing and mountaineering in California and it became her passion. Unfortunately, in 2010, she dropped almost 200 feet hitting the ground and her life was instantly changed, leaving her with a T-10 incomplete spinal cord injury, Cauda Equina syndrome and chronic pain. Her physical deficits are highly asymmetrical; left leg mostly paralyzed, while right leg functions normally. However, Wendy hasn’t let this stop her pursuit of climbing, skiing and outdoor recreation. Now, Wendy skis on advanced terrain at major ski areas like Crested Butte, Telluride and Chamonix, France, on one ski and using outriggers.

Wendy 3 Track skiing in the French Alps.

Cloud Tower reaching the skyline on the right, Ginger Buttress is the triangular buttress left of center.

She climbs a lot and has made numerous trips to California, Utah, New England and Nevada since the accident.

“I free climb as well as aid climb. I just returned from my first trip to Red Rocks since my accident and completed Cloud Tower, an 11d/12a traditional climb considered one of the best routes of it’s grade in the U.S. The combination of the long approach, climbing at my limit and a nighttime descent & reverse approach, made it my most challenging climbing experience.” – Wendy Ong

Wendy is a two-time female paraclimbing national champion and has represented the USA at the 2014 and 2016 International Federation of Sports Climbing World Championships.

“My climbing has progressed significantly, through grit, perseverance, love for the sport and the support of others. My attitude is that I can and should make the most of the function I do have..a very strong upper body, a core and right leg to compensate for my physical deficits.” – Wendy Ong

Wendy climbing the Calanque de Sormiou in France.

Wendy writes that she wants to be an ambassador for adaptive sports, “Being outdoors…nourishes my soul.” She draws a lot of attention from random strangers asking questions and drawing inspiration from her accomplishments. They’re,”watching my strength and grace when I climb in my unique style; seeing my stoke and determination makes them think, I can do better! I was the girl that fell and got back up again. That isn’t such a bad message to promote,” wrote Wendy.

Wendy climbing ice.


Wendy requested an experience grant to attend the Chile All-Mountain FreeRide Camp organized by the Telluride Adaptive Sports Program(TASP). This camp, August 2-11, 2017, is uniquely the only adaptive ski camp taking place at an international destination resort. In addition to expanding Wendy’s big mountain off piste skiing skills, the cultural/social component will aid her skills as an ambassador for adaptive sports in the years to come.

GoHawkeye is proud to award Wendy a $3,000 experience grant to attend this ski camp. We are impressed and inspired by her confidence in the benefits of outdoor recreation as well as her determination and drive to push past pain and physical limitations to achieve her goals.

Wendy after a day of climbing in Calanques National Park, France.

She has experienced much in short time and it makes us extremely happy to announce that Wendy Ong is the first recipient of support from the Steve Hodges Memorial Fund. This fund was established to help spinal cord athletes attend adaptive ski, bike or water sport camps. Steve was accomplished skier, bike rider and champion waterskier as well as a world traveler, bon vivant and a great ambassador for adaptive sports like we know Wendy will be.
Get it Ong, Wendy!