A First Hand Account of Falling to My Death, Almost

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A First Hand Account of Falling to My Death, Almost

Amber Simic, Reporter

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Falling 40 feet may not seem like the most optimal activity, but at BA, that’s exactly what some of our students are signing up for and even paying to do. The fearless members of Brookfield Academy’s Climb Team began scaling the walls of Adventure Rock two years ago, when a group of students approached Mr. Reiner about starting a team. Since its formation, the club has doubled in size. To find out what makes climbing so popular, I interviewed Mr. Reiner, the Climb Team’s coach.

Since I had no previous knowledge of the team, I began by asking about some of the basics, such as when and where the team practices, along with any competition that the club is involved with. The team meets every Tuesday from 3:30 to 5:30 at Adventure Rock. Mr. Reiner explained that once climbers felt confident enough in their abilities to compete, they could sign up for a competitions. The competition is split up into divisions, however, they are based on individual skill level and not school size. BA has climbers of all different levels, including two expert climbers, Jacob Reiner and Jacob Jonas, who both won individual events last year. Mr. Reiner explained that the return of these two skilled climbers, coupled with the promise shown by many of the beginners, the BA Climb Team is performing tremendously at competitions.

When I asked how the participants prepare for the climbing competitions Mr. Reiner invited me to find out myself and come climb with the team, so that’s exactly what I did.

The following Tuesday, I piled into a school van and made my way to Adventure Rock with the team. I was immediately taken aback by the magnitude of some of the walls and the people 40 feet up in the air climbing them. After getting over my immediate shock, I was shown to an “easy” wall covered with pink rocks. I began climbing the wall. I immediately realized the toll climbing takes on your arms, as I tried to use one hand to hoist my whole body up. However, after watching some of the more experienced members, I noticed that they were using their legs to move upwards. After I started using my legs, I found that the climb became more enjoyable and easier, and I made it up the rest of the wall without a problem. As difficult as the way up was, for me, coming down was even harder. Once climbers reach the top they are supposed to grab the top rock with both hands to indicate finishing a wall and then simply sit back in their harness and be lowered down gently by the automatic belay. Needless to say getting down was not so easy for an inexperienced climber like myself. When I finally did, I saw other climbers scaling up walls that were easily 40 feet tall, while some were even climbing without a harness in the bouldering area.  I watched in astonishment as some the climbers clambered up walls that were partially horizontal. I tried bouldering, but I didn’t make it nearly as far as some of the more experienced members of the team. The two hours flew by with a whole lot of laughter.

One of the best things I experienced during my day on the team was the camaraderie of the team. They laughed as they raced each other and shouted words of encouragement to teammates trying out challenging walls. The positive and welcoming attitudes of all the members of the team made it a really  enjoyable experience. Although I may have walked away with some cuts and callouses, I’m happy to report, I also left with a passion for a new exhilarating sport.

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