It’s not the destination, but the climb

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YMCA’s Teen Climbing Club shows students the ropes

Nearly hanging upside down 30 feet above the ground, a young teen climber is losing his grip on the tricky handhold he is clinging to. He makes a wild grab for the next hold and misses, only to fall about six inches and be caught by the rope of his belayer.
Most of the members of the Teen Climbing Club experience similar scenarios when they climb at the YMCA. The club meets from 6-8 p.m. every Wednesday.
Climbing Wall Supervisor Sandra West brought back the club in September of 2010, after the old one was canceled in 2009.
“The TCC is a good space for teens to climb, hang out with friends or just boulder casually,” West said.
TCC member Sabrina Civale said “The TCC is lots of fun and good exercise. I used to like climbing trees, so I thought the climbing wall was a good idea. This was a good chance to meet new people.”
The TCC staff provides coaching and encouragement for teens wanting to learn and develop their climbing skills.
Experience is not needed. Staff members and numerous volunteers are available to teach, help belay and coach.
TCC member Joe Roback said he really likes to climb, so he tried the TCC and enjoys it.
“My favorite part of the climb is making it to the top.”
Fellow TCC member Rachel Robey agrees.
“I really like climbing here and getting tips,” she said. “I like getting to meet people and I get to climb on weekdays.”
The club is open to teens year ‘round. Harnesses, shoes and other gear are included with the membership. Training is also given for outdoor climbing.
Some outdoor climbing trips are planned for this spring. In addition, the YMCA is clearing a space for a “bouldering cave.” Bouldering involves climbing on large boulders close to the ground, so belay ropes are not needed.
Some club meetings include presentations given by experienced rock climbers.
These guests share climbing techniques and describe their experiences climbing different areas around the country.
The YMCA climbing wall has many different climbing routes and classes of difficulty, so participants don’t have to be an expert to have a lot of fun.

Teen Pulse Staff Writer Tom Hanlon is a eighth grade home school student.