Climbing school graduates

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By Kirsten Laskey

Fourteen climbers conquered their fears and physical challenges, and as a result, are able to scale mountains, literally.

The students enrolled in the Los Alamos Mountaineers climbing school, which kicked off March 25, put their skills to the test with a graduation climb at Tres Piedras May 3.

Graduate climbers practiced traditional climbing, and spent from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. that day “climbing like maniacs,” instructor Kai Davis said.

Students needed to earn the opportunity to reach the top of Tres Piedras. “They can’t go to graduation if they don’t demonstrate what they need to (do),” Davis said.

By completing the class, Davis added, “these people are qualified to join in regular and irregular climbing activities.”

They learned the basics and therefore will be recognized as competent climbers, he said.

Los Alamos Mountaineers have hosted the climbing school for at least 40 years, Davis said. This year, students arrived from Los Alamos, Santa Fe and Albuquerque. Their ages ranged from 22-66.

“We get two kinds of students,” he said, “those who simply have never done (this) before, but we very often get students who have done this before ee who want a more thorough (education).”

After completing the class and the graduation climb, Davis said students were “pretty pleased with themselves. They actually did something they didn’t think they were going to do.”

Whether they stick with the outdoor sport is up to them. He added certainly several student climbers were “pretty gung-ho.”

There were success stories. For instance, Davis said one student was pretty scared of heights, and signed up for the class to overcome this fear. He said the student not only completed the graduation climb, but has continued to be active in the sport.

The purpose of the class, Davis said, is to encourage people to become climbers. It seems to be successful in fulfilling this purpose. “It’s widely popular because it’s the only one of its kind for miles.”

The climbing school will be held again next year. It will start the end of March.