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Karen Darke

Karen Darke


At the age of twenty one Karen Darke was paralysed in an accident whilst climbing in her native Scotland. This life-changing moment might have overwhelmed most, but Karen chose to fight the prospect of a wheelchair bound existence through a succession of challenges, both personal and physical which has earned her the admiration of adventurers and public alike from across the world.

A mere four years after the tragic accident which claimed the use of her legs and much of her lower body strength she traversed the Karakoram and Tien Shan range of mountains in Central Asia using a hand-powered bicycle, raising thousands of pounds for charity in the process. She has since covered 1,200 miles around the Alaskan coast in a kayak, crossed the Himalayas and Japanese archipelago using her hand-powered bicycle, made a 380 mile crossing of the Greenland ice cap and skied the Alps. She has even re-conquered the sport of rock climbing, by scaling El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. This feat was achieved solely using the power of her arms to raise her the 3000ft to the summit.

In the 2012 London Paralympics, Karen represented Team GB in the hand-cycling event and represented Britain again in 2016 at Rio taking the Gold Media in the women’s time trial. Karen was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2017 New Year Honours list for her services to sport.


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