Innovation, exploration, adventure — we like to change things up a bit to give some new experiences at camp. So…Camp Alleghany is adding another new facet to our Activities in the nature-meets-athletics realm this summer!
We’ve had our Low Ropes Course for years now, and the girls have created many amazing memories and met many challenging tasks on the Spider Web, Tire Traverse, Zig Zag, and more. They’ve climbed, played, balanced, and pushed themselves out of their comfort zone. Like last summer’s adventure down under to go Caving, now we’re adding another dimension to our Ropes/Climbing Department: Bouldering!
The Stone Age
Rock climbing and bouldering have exploded in popularity over the past decade, and will be an Olympic event for the first time in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
In traditional rock climbing, participants wear harnesses and tie-in to ropes to secure them as they ascend rock faces. Balance, agility, strength, and endurance are a few of the skills needed.
Bouldering builds all the same skills, but at a lower height that does not require the same type of protection. Instead of ropes going up, participants will be protected by crash pads (really big cushions) beneath them, and spotters protecting their head and neck.
Where are we going to go bouldering? We’re taking advantage of the immense possibilities and natural splendor right here at Camp.
On main camp, behind the Tennis Hut and below the Dining Hall, lies a beautiful rock outcropping. It is 6-8 feet high and stretches from the Infirmary to the stairs leading to the Dining Hall and Cottage. This coming summer, Facilities Director Garrett O’Dell and his crew will clear the wall of vegetation, exposing the rock face, and opening the way for bouldering.
‘Ghany Girls will have the opportunity to test out their finger strength as they ascend and traverse our very own natural rock wall, expanding their love and knowledge of the outdoors, and perhaps discovering a new lifelong passion.
Many bouldering routes — or “problems” as climbers call them — focus on traverses instead of on ascending or going up. Camp’s wall will be perfect for that!
Our rock wall starts as vertical or even sloped at the far left end, while slowly becoming overhung to a boulder-cave like climbing possibility on the right. This provides the opportunity for beginners and advanced climbers alike to continue building fine bouldering skills and pushing themselves towards new projects, harder routes, and greater accomplishments.
This summer, campers will learn the basics of climbing and spotting (participants on the ground protecting the climber), and will be under the watchful eye of our amazing activity staff, ready to offer help, encouragement, and high fives when someone finishes a route she’s been working on all Term.
The bouldering feature will begin as part of our Ropes activity. The class period will alternate between the Ropes Course and the Bouldering Wall throughout the Term, about half of each. Girls will focus on teamwork while also attaining personal goals. It’s the classic feel of camp with new challenges for the campers to try.
If the girls love bouldering enough to make it a stand alone activity in the future, we’ll definitely consider that. We’re testing the waters this summer to see what the response is.
Mini Campers will also be able to sign up for Ropes/Bouldering, the mini version being called Strings and Things.
Get your feet and fingertips ready for bouldering, and come “hang out” with us at the wall in 2018!
— Casey Tucker, Program Director, Camp Alleghany for Girls