John Churcher

Deafblind adventurer

John has been a member of the GB paraclimbing team for six years and is former world number three in his climbing category. John has Ushers Syndrome which affects both his sight and his hearing. He is deafblind with around 3% vision and 50% hearing. 

John loves taking on challenges in the great outdoors. He says: ”Being blind or having a disability doesn’t mean you can’t have adventures.” In 2015, as part of the Eiger Paraclimb team, he became the first blind person to successfully summit the Eiger – one of the most notoriously difficult and dangerous mountain climbs. 

In 2017 John was recognised as Birmingham Amateur Sportsperson of the year and was the overall winner of the International Federation of Sports Climbing (IFSC) paraclimbing in the B2 category (less than 5% vision). By 2018 John was the highest ranked British male in the B2 category and was recognised as one of survivalist Bear Grylls’ heroes.

John uses his experience to challenge perceptions about what is possible and encourage participation in paraclimbing. He has visited dozens of schools and helped run climbing sessions with a mobile climbing wall. John is a qualified Climbing Wall Instructor – the first blind person to achieve this. 

John uses social media to share his adventures and encourage other visually impaired people to know it’s possible and take on their own. Along with his best friend and guide Lauren, John is one of the T-Shirt Twins – taking on a huge variety of outdoor activities – often along with John’s guide dog Daisy. Their website shares write-ups and videos of their glider flights, dry ski slopes, ice skating, tree climbing, kayaking, tandem bike riding and 84 mile coastal walks – as well as, of course, climbing. 

John is a Trustee of the charity Deafblind UK.