Deaf climber Sonya shares her testimony in overcoming barriers and gaining acceptance while hosting climbing retreats with both hearing & Deaf outdoor enthusiasts.
Poster image for the film Elevated. A climber wearing a white helmet leaning against a sandstone cliff.



Palmer Morse


Rachel Weinberg


Eddie Bauer

Running time

15 minutes

Country / Nationality

United States

Our Judges say:

Lovely, impactful, beautifully made film about deaf hiking, climbing and general adventuring

Paul Hodgson Music Judge

This film has a lovely softness to it; in the tone of the story, the images and the music.

Simon Taylor

Growing up in Nevada, Sonya Wilson utilized the outdoors as a judgment free zone, climbing on rocks and on the roof of her home to find solace and acceptance within herself. Today, she can still be found climbing, but those rocks have gotten bigger, and so has her community of fellow Deaf climbers. In 2012, Sonya founded the ASL Climbing Network, a community of ASL climbers around the world. Now based in Los Angeles, Sonya organizes monthly meet ups in the gym, at the local crag, and Joshua National Park for her Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing climbing community. Friends, old and new, connect and talk about the latest problems they’re encountering on and off the wall. She has spent years advocating for the sport to bridge the gap and make climbing and spending time outside more accessible for her community. Sonya’s work is deeply rooted in the lived experience of being a Deaf climber. “The outdoors doesn’t need you to have hearing or even a voice to connect with it”, Sonya challenges what it means to be a climber in an industry dominated by the hearing people. “Climbing is a way for myself and others who are Deaf to challenge our bodies, minds, and ultimately find peace”.

Sustainability Notes:

This film was made with a three-person crew to both reduce our presence on set with mainly Deaf characters but also to reduce our carbon footprint. All crew was local to filming, no flights were purchased or taken in the creation of this film.