Friday, October 16, 2015

Climbing to High Places

We love a good climbing trip at Mountain Alliance and September has been full of them! In addition to two trips to Holloway (a local climbing site in Foscoe), a climbing trip to Center 45 (the new bouldering gym), and an all girls trip out to Little Lost Cove (in Linville Gorge), we also had several groups and classes come out to the Alpine Tower.


We had two trips go out to Holloway to climb - one for freshmen only and one for anyone who wanted to go. Max Maling went on both of the trips and went on the freshmen based one as a student leader. "On the ninth [of September] we headed out to Holloway where we rigged several spectacular climbs. I had a shoulder injury at the time so I did all of the climbs with only one arm! I really enjoyed this trip despite my injury," said Max. "The following day we returned to the rocks where all of us upper classmen acted as leaders and taught freshman how to climb and all the other basic essentials. It was awesome! I learned how to coil ropes and became a better teacher!" Holloway is a great local site relatively close to the school that allows us to do after school trips.

Center 45

"I had a great time bouldering at the new Center 45 climbing gym," said junior Zach Holtkamp. "We learned proper technique and bouldering etiquette while having an awesome time." The climbing gym just opened at the beginning of October and is a unique way for students to learn more about different types of climbing. Bouldering is a style of climbing in which climbers do not use ropes, but have spotters and only climb short distances. It combines strength, balance, and control. Zach said that getting to the top of his first V1 (a type of bouldering rating) climb was the most memorable part of the trip for him.  "I met lots of cool people in the local bouldering community," said Zach. "I had a great time!"

LIFT Climbing

A group of adventurous girls made their way out to Little Lost Cove for a beautiful day of climbing. The weather was amazing and the group was joined by other organizations out on the cliff. We taught the group about helmets and harnesses, how to belay, and some basic climbing technique. Students had the opportunity to climb a few different routes as well as participate in a rappel/ climb combo where they got to rappel themselves down the cliff and then climb back up it. Everyone on the trip got to try something they had never done before! It was an amazing day with just the girls!

 Alpine Towers

September kicked off our Alpine Tower programming for this school year with a bang! We had a group of Mountain Alliance students get started on a tower before it got thundered out, a Student Leader Alpine Tower in which students learned about how to help run a tower program, a Freshmen Alpine Tower specifically for freshmen and the student leaders who attended the training, AND Mrs. Lora Davis brought her Healthful Living classes out during the school day. During all of the programs, students are taught how to belay and keep each other safe. They are also asked to set goals and challenges for themselves. This gives them something to work towards and a way to try to push past their comfort zones. Alpine Towers are great team building and trust building trips because students must rely on one another to be successful. Throughout the school year, we will host a variety of groups at the tower including Mountain Alliance students, middle school groups from around the county, and various classes at Watauga High School. 

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