Most people don’t wake up in the morning and spontaneously decide they want to hike the Manitou Incline. But for Lexie Bader, that was her decision.
“I sat in my car for like 30 minutes and I was like what am I doing right now, I’m by myself,” says Lexie Bader.
The long ascent above Manitou Springs can be an intimidating one. But eventually Bader made her way to the trail and started hiking.
“I met a woman and she was struggling a lot and I was like no you just got to keep going,” says Bader. “If I’m gonna do it, you got to do it.”
A few years ago Bader conquered the Manitou Incline, but a lot has changed since then.
“20 plus surgeries in 9 years and I got CRPS which is complex regional pain syndrome from all the trauma,” says Bader.
Following a bad snowboarding accident, Bader chose to have her foot amputated in 2019, after years of pain and limitation. A rare nerve disorder spread to her other foot. And just last year Bader had a second below-the-knee amputation.
“Then I had to be in a wheelchair for 9-10 months,” says Bader. “It just tore me apart to be in a chair for that long.”
But with her new prosthetics or graffiti, as she likes to call them, she’s overcoming the steps as a double amputee. Making it to the top, nearly a mile straight up on abandoned railway ties has never felt so good.
“I just couldn’t believe that I actually got up and actually did it and made it to the top,” says Bader.
Bader has been modeling since before she became a double amputee, but in recent years her career has really taken off. She was the first adult double amputee to walk in the New York Fashion Show. Bader has also started her own clothing company called FashionAble, where she creates clothes that are easier to put on for people who have prosthetics.