First Descents (FD) provides outdoor adventure programs for individuals who have been impacted by cancer and other serious health conditions. We frequently serve participants whose health conditions may interfere with mobility, including walking, coordination, hearing, and vision.
To ensure we’re providing the highest quality program experience possible, we work closely with partners at several of our locations who can adapt programming to meet participant needs and create the most inclusive environment possible. We also offer accessible lodging and transportation options at select locations.
To decide if a program is the right fit for you, check out the FAQ’s below and then reach out to the Programs Team, we are happy to help!
|Whitewater Kayaking or Rafting||Rock/Ice Climbing||Surfing|
|What if I am in active treatment and experiencing symptoms such as fatigue?||You will be on the water all day. All of our kayaking programs have a support raft that follows us that you can rest on if you are feeling fatigued.||On rock and ice climbing programs you can rest as much in between climbing as you need. This is a more accessible program if you experience fatigue.||Surfing is more aerobically strenuous but you are able to rest on the shore as much as you need between surfing.|
|What if I have strength and/or mobility restrictions in my upper body?||This is a great option if you are able to sit upright with your legs in front of you, twist at your torso side to side, and move your arm in order to pat your lower back and pat your back over your shoulder.||Climbing is a great option if you have some upper body restrictions and are able to lift your arms above your head, as if climbing a ladder. Routes can be chosen to better fit your abilities and most strength comes from your legs while climbing.||This is a good option if you have the motion/strength to paddle/swim and can push yourself up to a high plank position using your arms.|
|What if I have strength and/or mobility restrictions in my lower body?||Generally a good option if you have restrictions with your legs or a prosthetic. In a hard shell kayak, your lower body is confined in the kayak and there will be some pressure on your leg(s) from the sides of the kayak.||You should be able to bend your legs as if you are climbing a ladder. There is often uneven terrain while walking to the climbing site. If you have balance concerns or use an assistive device to walk, reach out to the Programs Team so we can learn more what would work best for you.||Surfing is a good option if you have the mobility to squat and are able hold a plank and jump up onto your feet.|
|What if I am sensitive to the sun and/or concerned about temperature regulation?||There is the most sun exposure on water programs. If overheating is your primary concern, it is easy to cool down in the water if needed.||Typically there is more shade available on rock climbing programs. If circulation and staying warm is a concern, ice climbing will be a more difficult program to regulate temperature.||There is the most sun exposure on water programs. If heat is your primary concern, it is easy to cool down in the water if needed.|
|What if I need regular access to the bathroom, medications, etc.?||There are typically not bathrooms available during the day while on the water. There will usually be a bathroom at the start and end points. Medications can be arranged to be brought out on the water in dry bags, if it must be refrigerated, reach out to the Programs Team.||There are typically not bathrooms available during the day while at the climbing site. There typically is a bathroom at the meeting point before we walk to the climbing site. Medications can easily be brought to the site, if it must be refrigerated, reach out to the Programs Team.||Our lodge is close to the beach so bathrooms and medications can be accessed throughout the day.|
|Do you have equipment that will accommodate my body, my size, my prosthetic, my assistive device, etc.?||Our community has a wide range of body types, reach out to the Programs Team and we can work to find the right equipment for you. Some alternatives to hard shell kayaks that might be applicable are sit-on-top kayaks.||Our community has a wide range of body types, reach out to the Programs Team and we can work to find the right equipment for you. Some alternatives that might be applicable are full body harnesses.||Our community has a wide range of body types, reach out to the Programs Team and we can work to find the right equipment for you. Some alternatives that might be applicable are plus size wetsuits and a range of board sizes.|