Rock climbers to hold border wall climbing competition after Trump said new section was unscalable

A rock climber plans to hold a border wall climbing competition after President Trump recently declared a new section of his border wall with Mexico “impossible to climb,” according to a new report from climbing magazine Rock and Ice.

Rick Weber — a 75-year-old retired engineer, and active rock climber certified by American Mountain Guide Association as a Single Pitch Instructor — writes that he has built a replica of an 18-foot tall section of steel border wall and has invited rock climbers to compete in the climb on Oct. 11 and 12.

“We will be hosting the event on land my wife and I own in the Red River Gorge region of eastern Kentucky,” Weber wrote in Rock and Ice. “[It] coincides with one of the largest gatherings of climbers in the U.S.—an annual event called Rocktoberfest.”

Weber said his proposed challenge was inspired by Trump’s visit to a section of border wall in California last month, where he announced that 20 of the most skilled mountain climbers out there had been tasked with trying to scale the wall, but were unable to do so.

“We have, I guess you could say, world-class mountain climbers. We got climbers,” Trump said during an address near the new 30-foot wall section. “We had 20 mountain climbers. That’s all they do — they love to climb mountains. They can have it. Me, I don’t want to climb mountains. But they’re very good, and some of them were champions. And we gave them different prototypes of walls, and this was the one that was hardest to climb.”{mosads}

Those in the climbing community, however, have raised questions over Trump’s claims of a climbing test.

Some professionals told The Daily Beast last month that the claim was “preposterous.” Jesse Grupper, a gold medalist in this year’s USA Climbing Sport & Speed Open National Championships, said he “never heard of any climbers ever being recruited to try and climb a border wall.”

Weber wrote in the post announcing his competition that “no one in our climbing community knows any of these 20 mountaineers.” 

Details of the competition are still underway, but Weber says there is no entry fee and there will be prizes and trophies for winners.  

The section of border wall Weber appears to have replicated is shorter than the 30-foot section Trump recently visited, but closer in style to 18-foot steel bollard wall erected in May of this year. The new section of wall Trump spoke of in California last month is also a steel bollard wall that includes beams filled with concrete.

Trump ran on the campaign promise of building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, a pledge that has led to funding battles with lawmakers. An emergency declaration allowed Trump to reallocate billions of dollars in military funding for wall construction. Multiple reports, however, have found that while the administration has replaced or repaired several miles of existing barriers, relatively little new wall has been built. 

Tags Border Border wall climbers climbing Donald Trump Mexico Mountain climbers rock climbing scale Steel Trump
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