Meet the real-life spider-woman who scales 100ft climbing walls with just one arm

Meet the real-life Spider-woman – who effortlessly scales climbing walls with just ONE ARM.

 Sianagh Gallagher, a team GB paraclimber

Sianagh Gallagher, a team GB paraclimber

Sianagh Gallagher, 19, from York, was born with no collarbone, shoulder or left arm due to complications during pregnancy but doesn’t let it hold her back.

The adrenaline junkie who loves kayaking, surfing, rock climbing and skateboarding defies her disability regularly wowing judges with her climbing prowess.

Sianagh, who is Great Britain’s Paraclimbing Team captain and the only one-armed climber to compete at an international level in Europe, said that having a disability doesn’t have to hold you back.

She said: “There’s a lot more to life than a disability. I didn’t feel it was unfair and never thought ‘why me?’

“If anything it made me more determined. I love challenging myself to try things that are difficult even for able-bodied people.”

This fighting spirit is something Sianagh had from birth when she was born 10 weeks prematurely and doctors told mum Jade Ross to prepare herself for the worst.

Sianagh Gallagher

Sianagh Gallagher

Sianagh, who was born weighing just 2lb 11oz, had a string of complications including just one arm, no collarbone, a curved spine, twisted pelvis, dislocated knee and both feet facing the wrong way.

After a number of operations, including having a metal plate inserted into her leg, she was able to walk.

It was a primary school teacher who suggested she try out for the climbing club at the age of 10.

She said: “I didn’t want to try it at first but my teacher forced me to do it!

“I wasn’t keen as it seemed such a unique sport and with me just having one arm I thought that it would be too hard.

“But it only made me more determined and I found I loved it.”

The paraclimber, who’s been dubbed the ‘real-life Spider-Woman’ by fellow climbers at the York climbing centre where she trains, has to ‘jump’ each move as she doesn’t have three points of contact on the wall at all times.


She said: “When I’m climbing my heart starts pumping as I jump my hand to the next hold – it’s so cool.

“When people have watched me climb I’ve heard a few people say, ‘look, she’s just like Spider-Woman!

“Amazingly it took one nine-year-old girl I was teaching two years to realise I only had one arm!”

Sianagh keeps herself in peak condition spending four hours a day at the climb wall four days a week alongside a few hours in the gym each week to maintain her strength.

She said: “Things are going really great – I’ve really improved since I got on the team.

“I keep forgetting I’m on Team GB – it’s amazing to be a part of it.”

Sianagh is planning to read sports psychology at Bournemouth University, and is eyeing gold for her next paraclimbing competition in Italy next month.


She said: “Growing up with one arm did have some challenges but I had an amazing group of friends at school and my family has been so supportive and accept me for who I am.”

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