To the mines and mountains. Another student expedition for adventurers with disabilities

Illustration: Expedition Without Barriers organisers
Friday 2 June 2023, 8:00 – Text: Martin Višňa

The next Expedition Without Barriers (Expedice PřesBar), which students of the Department of Adapted Physical Activities at the UP Faculty of Physical Culture organise for participants with disabilities and disadvantages, is underway. The adventures are off to Slovenia, where they will overcome obstacles in the terrain as well as in their own minds. They will visit former mines and mountains.

“The motto and main theme of our expedition is ‘From the bottom to the top’. First of all, this is greatly symbolic for the disabled participants who have experienced a lot of hardships and felt low in their lives, but they managed to overcome all the obstacles and reach their own peaks; and secondly, our adventure will start underground and we want to end it on a mountain top,” said Alena Krejčí, on behalf of the organisers.

The initial underground part of the programme will commence in the area of the former mines near the town of Mežica, where the participants will ride through the mine tunnels on mountain bikes and cruise the flooded caves and other areas in kayaks. Afterwards, the expedition will move along the Drava Trail to Triglav National Park, where the students plan to do bicycle tours, via ferrata climbing, and rock climbing. The highlight of their stay in the Julian Alps will be the climb to Vršič Mountain, where the expedition participants will spend one night in a mountain cabin.

“The peak we have chosen is much more accessible in terms of hiking than the Czech highest mountain, Sněžka, where in one of our earlier expeditions, they had to go over roots and rocks; still, it won’t be easy. It is important not to damage their equipment. During the expedition, we also want to perform various tasks and challenges based on a story, which will find its end on Vršič,” said the student of adapted physical activities at the Faculty of Physical Culture, adding that the participants will then return home, after a short stop in Austria.

Seven people with disabilities, among them two in wheelchairs, three with visual impairments, one with intellectual disabilities, and one with schizophrenia, have set off with a team of fourteen students under the supervision of their teachers for the activities and experiences they have prepared.

“As a Scout troop leader, I’m used to things occasionally not going as planned, so I’m never that surprised. This time, however, my biggest challenge will be to communicate with all the participants, to keep the positive mood in the group, and to ensure that we work together and enjoy the expedition as a team,” said Krejčí about the unusual one-week expedition, which embarked on Saturday, June 10. The return is scheduled for Sunday, June 18.

Expedition Without Barriers (Expedice PřesBar) is an educational project and part of the curriculum of the Master’s degree programme at the UP Faculty of Physical Culture, which focuses on physical activities for people with disabilities. The aim of the expedition is, among other things, to show that disability does not have to be an obstacle in sports and in the quest for experiences. Students as organisers learn how to prepare such an event for people with disabilities and gain valuable experience that they can later use in their future professions. This year’s expedition is the eleventh expedition for students with disabilities. In the past, they have travelled to German-speaking countries, Norway, Corsica, and Slovakia.


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