Many have doubted President Trump’s claims that his border wall is unclimbable, but a mountain climber put that to the test, building a replica of a section of wall and inviting attempts to climb it. There’s a competition happening this weekend to see who can climb the replica the fastest, but already in advance of the competition, climbers have been able to scale the replica in under a minute and an eight-year-old child has even been able to climb it. One person even juggled as they climbed it.
President Trump is pouring billions into his border wall, leading him to make claims that it will be unclimbable in order to make it seem effective in keeping people out, in his mind justifying the expenditure. Of course, just yesterday a federal judge ruled that the emergency declaration Trump used to redirect money appropriated for other purposes to his border wall is illegal, so those funds are likely to dry up now and Trump will be left with the more limited funds appropriated for this purpose by Congress. Now we also see the folly of Trump’s claims that the wall is unclimbable.
Trump had claimed, without evidence, that 20 highly skilled mountain climbers had attempted to climb his wall, but failed. That claim seemed to take the mountain climbing community by surprise, leading Rick Weber, a 75-year-old engineer and avid rock climber, to build an 18-foot tall replica and host a competition to host that out. But, as mentioned above, the replica has already been climbed, easily and quickly, by multiple people, even before the competition began. According to The Hill:
Several mountain climbers have reportedly scaled a wooden replica of President Trump’s steel border wall that was built to disprove Trump’s claims that a portion of the wall is “impossible to climb.” …Weber said his proposed challenge was inspired by Trump’s visit to a section of border wall in California last month, where he announced that 20 of the most skilled mountain climbers out there had been tasked with trying to scale the wall, but were unable to do so. Some raised questions over Trump’s claims of a climbing test, however, with award-winning climbers saying they “never heard of any climbers ever being recruited to try and climb a border wall.” …As of Friday, Oct. 11, The Courier-Journal reports that numerous people have already scaled the replica wall, including an 8-year-old girl, even though Weber’s competition isn’t until this weekend. According to the Courier-Journal, 30-year-old Peter Favaloro of Boston reached the top of the wall in about a minute. …Another climber, 29-year-old Erik Kloeker, made it over the wall in approximately 30 seconds during a demonstration for reporters. He later climbed the wall a second time while also juggling.
To be clear, the replica is not an exact copy of Trump’s border wall. The replica was made of wood, whereas Trump’s border wall is made of steel. Also, the replica is 18-feet high, much like sections of wall built earlier this year, but some new sections of Trump’s wall are 30-feet high. Still, though, the ease with which this 18-foot version could be climbed casts serious doubt on Trump claim of the wall being unclimbable and shows that in principle the taller one could be scaled as well. After seeing how easily this replica was climbed, perhaps Weber will build a 30-foot version to test that out as well.