A Day In John's Life!

IJ Anita Tejwani
Published on: 19th November 2014
His love for the mountains and the high places began when he was young, and then built the love for Skiing the Rocky Mountains of Colorado when he was a boy of just 6 years. In his school days, he would be a star in the local ski team throughout high school and this brought him a skiing scholarship to college, and then, he was on the National Ski Patrol for a long time. “Life was good,” says our today’s inspiration - Mr. John Adams.

He is currently working as an Instructor Examiner for the United States Parachute Association. He feels fortunate to be able to travel the world teaching others about his life’s passion and assisting aspiring instructors in becoming safe and qualified Skydiving Instructors. While his life played around skiing, he came across being a teacher for the same. He then received his Coaches Certification and soon realized that he was best at teaching this sport.
A Day In John's Life,inspiration,skiing
He then fancied skydiving and climbing when he was 19, “I had seen the TV Program ‘Ripcord’, and an old movie entitled the ‘Gypsy Moths’ (about a small group of traveling skydivers preforming at County Fair) and I knew from that moment that I wanted to jump!!!” he smiles. But finding the landings was very hard back then. He would rarely skydive as he could make his living from skis during that period. But, he had surely found his lifelong love of climbing. He says, “I began in the foothills of Boulder, CO, and ended up out west, skiing the Mts. of Oregon, Washington, and California; from the small crags of Smith Rocks to the granite walls of Yosemite. My life's each year began with a winter ski season to roaming the crags of Joshua Tree in the early spring on the high granite walls of Yosemite Valley for the feel of the blossoming springs, and then into the high Mountains, the Bugaboos of Canada for the summer and fall months until the snows began to fall once again.” John adds, “Skydiving was a weekend adventure sport for me during this time. My life was really all about climbing during the spring and summer months and skiing all winter.”

This was a grand circle of his life until one day in the summer of 1985. In 1985, he decided to change his summer job as a contractor and went to work on a highway crew for his best friend so that they could have their climbing schedules together. “It was then, only several weeks into the summer, that my life changed. One of the tractor trailer drivers who was working for the company I was with, had been drinking, and hit me head on as I was parked alongside the road and was about to return home from Yosemite Valley,” John recalls.

The doctors said that he would most likely never walk again. He had injured himself severely. He had his arm, legs, hip, pelvis’s, sacrum, and lower back broken in a way that the doctors would not operate for fear of ending up with paralyzing him. He had lost all personae function to his lower left leg and foot. As a result, he lay in a Medicos Air bed for months, slowly mending together. “After months in a wheel chair, I began visiting the local pool, swimming as I could, and working out my upper body as much as possible. I began by walking with a cane, and soon had a friend from Bishop CA helped with a brace for my left leg and foot,” narrates John.

Slowly, he began climbing again, and soon realized that he could no longer free climb as he used to before the drastic incident which had changed many horizons of his life. He had climbed El Captain 13 times using the method of artificial climbing before this incident, where he would hang on the pieces after placing them into the rocks, but now he was lacking the freedom he craved for.

“I was still able to continue climbing after my accident, although not to the level of proficiency as before. I had a special ski boot (and rock climbing shoe) made so that I could slide my foot into the braces. They give me the support necessary to be able to ski and climb. I remain grateful that I am still able to enjoy my beloved Mountains,” says John with a smile. “I believe that if we are afraid of something, then, as with all other feelings that we do not like, we must change them, or challenge them, or confront them. This has been the major path of my life - to confront the things that I am afraid of,” says Mr John Adams.
He began at a small local Drop Zone in Oregon, jumping out of small planes, landing with an extra-large Parachute, gaining skill and knowledge each year. In the summer of 1990, he became an Instructor finding that skydiving was now his passion. He then progressed in the sport gathering several world records in the process. He has had many mentors through the years, “Bob Daughs from Oregon and ‘Mad John’ were certainly great inspirations as I began my career,” mentions John. He then adds, “As I have continued on, people like Ty Losey, Ted Farnsworth, Theresa Baron, Luke Aikens, Derek Thomas and Bram Clement continue to inspire me. From young people like Jarrett Martin, who was critically injured, but has continued in spite of his injuries, influential friends to the Doctors and Physical Therapy people that assisted me in my rehabilitation have all helped me. They have all helped me to keep sight of the possibilities that remain, especially my wife Susan.”

John has made over 6000 jumps since his accident, and has enjoyed the view of the world more than one could ever know. The feeling that keeps him continue to skydive even today is his teachings and the results from them. From sailing, flying, climbing, skydive and the Martial arts he has taught it all. Seeing his students become World Champions never ceases to inspire him and gives him new goals.

Stay, or become excellent, but always remain humble, continue to work on the ‘little’ things. Life is indeed too short; so, follow your dreams and be all that you can be. As in one of my most favourite poems, ‘Desiderata’ so eloquently states, ‘Be neither vain nor bitter for there will always be greater and lesser than yourself’,” were John’s inspiring words!
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