Anna Soens impressed us with her drive and determination to make the best of her situation after crushing her T-12 vertebrae in a climbing accident. The only path she could see was to continue to follow her dreams!
Prior to her injury, Anna was an avid outdoor enthusiast who worked and played full time in the backcountry. She had made plans to summit and ski Mount Hood with her Dad and was on track until the accident sidelined her. Now her journey became extremely difficult yet her biggest struggle was no longer being able to enjoy the wilderness with the frequency and spontaneity as before.
“I never stopped yearning for high places and open spaces though, and in the year and a half since my injury I’ve returned (in some form) to climbing, mountain biking, skiing, kayaking, rowing, and anything else that gets me active and back outside where I belong,” said Anna. “Throughout this journey, the dream of climbing Mount Hood never quite died,” she continued.
She plans to move forward with the same dream, in the process, becoming the first female paraplegic to climb Hood and the first paraplegic to reach the summit without mechanized action. GoHawkeye awarded Anna a $6,300 equipment grant to purchase a DynAccess sit ski in order to ski down from the iconic peak.
Anna described the Mount Hood climb as, “… a crazy project has already garnered support from Oregon Adaptive Sports (Bend, OR), the American Alpine Club, and a crew of over two dozen amazing climbing, mountaineering, and skiing friends who have enthusiastically expressed interest in the expedition. We are planning to attempt the summit in the spring of 2018.”
She continued to express why this goal is so important, “Climbing Hood as an incomplete paraplegic is undoubtedly the biggest objective of my life to-date and is guaranteed, whether ‘successful’ or not, to be strenuous, probably a bit epic (in the best and worst senses of the word), and completely awesome.”
“… Hood is about so much more than reaching the summit. It is about the shared experience with the people in my life who make it worth living.” –Anna Soens
“There are some memories and bonds gained while struggling up a mountainside together that you simply cannot find over shared lattes in a coffee shop,” explained Anna.
The GoHawkeye Foundation is excited to be a part of this team and this monumental effort. The new sit ski will also help in other endeavors. Anna recently moved to Boise, Idaho and home of Recreation Unlimited, the adaptive sports program at Bogus Basin ski area. With her own monoski she can pursue another dream to become an adaptive ski instructor.
“It would be incredibly rewarding for me to be able to help grow their program and pass on my experiences and stoke to a new fleet of monoskiers,” expressed Anna. “I plan to pursue PSIA (Professional Ski Instructors of America) Adaptive Alpine Level 1 certification,” she continued.
GoHawkeye admires Anna’s drive to never give up her dreams, and in the process her desire to help others achieve their dreams. We are proud to help make this happen and welcome Anna to the GoHawkeye Crew!