Teen climber defies limits in rise to the top at World Paraclimbing Championships

NIWOT, Colo. -- Trevor Smith knows a little something about limits; that is, he knows what it means to blow right past them.

"Everybody has something they deal with,” he says. “What I have to say to people is just take those negative aspects in your life and turn it into something positive."

Smith is a junior at Niwot High School, a full international baccalaureate student who hopes to one day study aerospace engineering.

Two years ago, he added to his busy schedule when he took up sport climbing.

"When I first started climbing, I was not the greatest to say the least,” he says.

On the surface, it might look like Smith could have limits when it comes to climbing. He was born with one arm, but that hasn't stopped him from rapidly rising in the sport.

The peak of his young career came at the World Paraclimbing Championships in Innsbruck, Austria, in September.

Smith was thrilled to have the opportunity to compete against the best in the world.

“When I was a week or two away from the competition, I was like ‘wow this is actually happening.’”

But he did more than just compete. Trevor took second place, just two years after he started training in the sport.

"Placing second was crazy. It was probably the best moment of my life honestly.”

Since his podium finish, Smith has continued to put in the work. His training sessions at EVO Fitness in Louisville last for three to four hours at a time, giving him an occasional break from all the typical stresses of being a teenager.

“It's almost become a form of meditation for me. I'm able to just focus on the wall and put all of my energy toward the wall and not have to worry about what's going on in school or if I have a work assignment," he said.

"It just allows me to decompress and kind of step back. It's been a really big stress relief for me.”

And from the top, he sees a new perspective on what it means to take meet life's challenges and keep climbing.

“I’ve just been so happy that I've been able to do what I've done,” he said. “I can show that to the world that I'm more than just someone that has one arm. I'm able to do something as crazy as climbing a wall that's inverted 40 degrees backward.

"I love the way that I am. I would never want to change who I am."

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