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  • February 14No School Friday (Staff Development)

Taking Climbing to Another Level

Above%2C+Nate+Maddaloni+repelling+down+a+rock+face+in+Kent%2C+Connecticut.
Above, Nate Maddaloni repelling down a rock face in Kent, Connecticut.

Above, Nate Maddaloni repelling down a rock face in Kent, Connecticut.

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Contributed Photo

Above, Nate Maddaloni repelling down a rock face in Kent, Connecticut.

Natalie Bandura, Issue Editor-in-chief

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There are people who do rock climbing as a sport, and are just as dedicated to improving their climbing skills and getting to the next level as you may be to winning your upcoming soccer game.

“I practice at Rock Climb Fairfield or RCF. It is a lot of fun to do and all the coaches are very nice and, like a lot of sports, they don’t expect you to be perfect and always take it easy on you,” said Leah Chapman, an 8th grader at Bedford who started rock climbing this year.
Nathan Maddaloni is another 8th grader who goes to RCF, but he has been doing it for two years now.

“It’s really fun because I love being up high on the wall, looking down to see the entire wall that I conquered beneath me,” he says.
Although everyone has had a different experience with rock climbing, they all share one thing in common: they have tried it at some random point in their lives, and they loved it so much that they decided to pursue it as a sport.

Ted Swanson
Leah Chapman showing the hands that have developed a strong climbing grip.

“My first time climbing was at a friend’s birthday party at elementary school. It was a pretty scary experience, but it actually turned out to be fun,” said Nathan.

Leah found out about rock climbing in a similar way. “I heard about it when my family and I went rock climbing for fun on weekends. My first impression was honestly terrifying, but I had soon got over it and had a great time,” she says.

Most people begin rock climbing simply because it seems fun, but once they become committed, they soon realize that there is much more to the sport than they ever expected.
Mr. David Deitch is an 8th grade Social Studies teacher whose son Jonathan began climbing at RCF three years ago. “Rock climbing went well beyond what I anticipated, and I was encouraged that he was able to pursue a passion. Jonathan was always climbing and got to be pretty accomplished in the sport. Even though we weren’t expecting it, Jonathan has already risen to new heights,” he said.

Like climbing a rock face, there are many holds and routes to the top, and people take very different routes to achieve their goals and face their fears

“My main goal is to eventually be in a competition. I face a lot of obstacles because there is a wide variety of holes that you can encounter and you can never be sure what the next climb will be like.,” said Nate.

Contributed Photo
Jonathan Deitch, a fourth grader, takes on a challenging climb at Rock Climb Fairfield.

Jonathan’s goals differ slightly. “Jonathan is very committed, passionate, and persistent about rock climbing. His greatest challenge is to continue mastering harder levels,” said Mr. Deitch.

One common concern for rock climbers is the question of safety while climbing.

“I’m a little anxious about Jonathan’s safety because in addition to climbing,; sometimes he boulders, which means they climb upside down on the ceiling without a safety rope. This can be very dangerous if you don’t fall right,” Mr. Deitch says.

On the other hand, Leah believes bouldering to be relatively safe. “It is very safe because every student is provided with a harness and special climbing shoes.” she says.
But even though rock climbing is a demanding sport that poses many challenges, everyone who undertakes it benefits from the experience and has a wonderful time in the process.
“I really enjoy the feeling of just being up on the wall and the adrenaline you get. Rock climbing can actually reduce stress levels, and it always helps me to feel better in that way,” says Nathan.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Taking Climbing to Another Level”

  1. Tierney Kugel on February 15th, 2018 9:10 am

    This was such a cool article to read. I never knew that climbing was a sport that middle schooners could participate in.

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Taking Climbing to Another Level