4 Wheel Bob
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4 WHEEL BOB follows Bob Coomber, an outdoor adventurer who sets out to be the first wheelchair hiker to cross the challenging 11,845 foot Kearsarge Pass in California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range. The famously steep and prolonged trail to the Pass unfolds with Kings Canyon National Park providing a dramatic vista. For Bob in his wheelchair, this adventure is fraught with danger. He must deal continually with altitude sickness and the threat of diabetic coma, not to mention possible fatal or crippling falls in the steep terrain. The path is often blocked with shattered granite, and Bob must turn his wheelchair backward in order to push uphill using only his arms. Going downhill has its own hazards; the trail is narrow, and his wheels often skid on the loose rock. We gain an intimate, foot-by-foot familiarity with Bob’s herculean effort and with some of the most perilous sections of the famous trail.
Bob grew up in California in a family of avid backpackers. In his early twenties, he trained to become a police officer, but one day while hiking he tripped and his leg “exploded into a thousand pieces.” This was the beginning of a long struggle with juvenile diabetes and subsequent osteoporosis, and he now uses a wheelchair to get around. After a period of severe depression, Bob recovered and adopted a philosophy of “no excuses,” leading to years of ambitious wheelchair hiking to improve his physical and mental health. Away from the Sierra, Bob is an advocate for the disabled. He takes groups from the wheelchair-bound community as well as war veterans on local hikes, teaching about ecology, animal and plant life and ways to navigate in the wilderness.
Produced by Tritone Films, 2016.