Man becomes successful rock climber despite suffering brain injuries in car accident


Dave Bowes, from Wirral, Merseyside, has become a successful rock climber despite suffering from a debilitating brain injury following a car crash. 

Photography by Luc Percival
A man from Merseyside who was left with brain injuries after a road accident medals has won medals in the Para-Climbing World Cup and European Championships for rock climbing. Dave Bowes is currently ranked second in Europe and fourth in the world after picking up a bronze medal at the Para-Climbing World Cup and silver in the Para-Climbing European Championships in Chamonix, France, in July. He also narrowly missed out on a podium finish in the first round of the Para-Climbing World Cup in Imst, Austria, as he struggled to balance the medication he needs to help him control his symptoms. Dave was in a car crash in 2007, when he suffered multiple brain injuries, and has been left with a neurological disability. The brain injury left him with permanent symptoms of concussion, no sense of balance, a sleep disorder, over-sensitive hearing, migraines, depression and a personality change. He does not let his serious injuries get in the way of his climbing, however, becoming British Para-Climbing Champion in his category and earning a spot on the podium at every round of the World Cup last season. Last year he even astonishingly made it on to the able-bodied ice climbing team, showing that disabled climbers can sometimes compete in that sport too. Dave said: “The Para-Climbing World Cup and Para-Climbing European Championship prize ceremony in Chamonix was really too much sensory overload for my brain injuries; but the atmosphere during the competition, the cheer of over 2,000 spectators, and the quality of routes were amazing. And what a back drop! “To be able to look over at Mont Blanc at the end of your climb whilst being lowered down is both beautiful and surreal.” He is being sponsored by Birchall Blackburn Solicitors in Chester, and said how vital it was to raise awareness of “hidden” disabilities. He said: “Sponsorship is incredibly important. Without companies like Birchall Blackburn supporting me I couldn’t do this. “I’m unable to work and trying to raise awareness is the closest thing to a ‘job’ that I have and gives me a sense of self-worth for the first time in over seven years, since my accident. Dave said that, to him, “climbing is even more important as it shows others with disabilities that what labels them shouldn’t stop them from trying for the seemingly impossible. “It shows what can be achieved with the right care and support from others along with determination, even if you struggle greatly.” Follow Dave and his progress on Twitter @bowesdave or on Instagram at
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