Community rallies around blind rock climber whose gear was stolen

Local News

DENVER (KDVR) — With a national competition just days away, Bill Casson was looking at a harsh reality.

The nationally ranked paraclimber’s gear disappeared out of a friend’s car overnight Saturday while he trained outside of Boulder.

Casson, who is completely blind, is the highest ranked blind male climber in the entire nation.

“It can be a little scary and disheartening to have someone run off with all of your stuff,” he said, “so that was really a bummer right before a national’s competition next weekend.”

Casson has been rock climbing for about six years and uses special Bluetooth technology to communicate with a “guide” on the ground.

“You want it to be almost instantaneous, so when they say, ‘There,’ you’re there,” he said.

That Bluetooth headset was inside Casson’s stolen backpack, and Casson said ropes and other necessary climbing gear were in there, too.

Casson’s friends set up a fundraiser, and in less than two days received enough money to buy him new equipment.

He expects that equipment to arrive Wednesday or Thursday just in time for nationals.

“It’s really unexpected. It’s funny that this thing happens to us that’s really not great, but we get so much support from the community that it allows us to do so many good things from it,” Casson said.

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