Karen Darke in action. Photo: Marte Lundby Rekaa

Karen Darke in action. Photo: Marte Lundby Rekaa

She will be remembered perhaps for her attempt at comradeship in the London Paralympics when she joined hands with fellow cyclist Rachel Morris as they crossed the line together in a bid to share the bronze paracycling medal.

But Karen Darke’s road to Paralympic fame – she won silver in the road time trial at the games – began 20 years ago when a climbing accident left her paralysed from the chest down.

The Halifax-born adventurer, who now lives in Inverness, shares the experiences that led her to train to take part in the London Paralympics in her new book Boundless: An Adventure Beyond Limits.

The Berghaus-sponsored athlete’s first book, If You Fall, recounted her experiences as she was recovering from the rockclimbing accident that paralysed her.

In the book, she wrote about her return to adventure and how she embraced change.

Boundless is a very different book, and is about facing challenges and fear, both in the wilderness and at home.

Paralympics silver medallist Karen Darke

Paralympics silver medallist Karen Darke

The book tells the story of the greatest physical challenge Darke has faced: a month long journey sit-skiing 600km across the wilderness of the Greenland icecap, using only her arms as an engine.

That journey itself led to the biggest mental challenge she could have ever anticipated, returning to the rock, and a week-long climb suspended on the kilometre-high overhanging face of El Capitan in Yosemite, California.

Boundless ends with Darke finding the inspiration to train with the hope of making it to the London 2012 Paralympic Games. This is an ambition that Karen Darke achieved and she went on to win a silver medal in the handcycling time trial event at London 2012.

Karen Darke said: “Boundless isn’t a book about expedition heroics, but it offers my view of life’s challenges and the profound effects of wilderness.

“The adventures that I write about have shown me just what is possible when I set my heart and mind on something. Add in the support of a good team and we can really go beyond limits.”

Karen Darke's Boundless

Karen Darke's Boundless

Ms Darke still spends a lot of time in Yorkshire with her partner, renowned climber and writer Andy Kirkpatrick who, paradoxically announced yesterday he was giving up writing and ‘looking for a job’.

Boundless is published by AKreative and available from leading bookshops, Amazon and on Kindle. Signed copies are available from Karen Darke’s website.

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