OLDS Recap – Climbing Edition


Our students have returned back to basecamp from climbing!  Rachel Gearhart has been gracious to take the time to share about this section in her own words.  Enjoy!


Rachel on rappel

What could possibly persuade a person to strap into a manmade harness, tie their own knot around that harness, allow him or herself to be attached to a rope in the hands of another person, and then climb up the face of a rock?

It’s kind of insane, but that’s exactly what we did for the last ten days.

On the 12th of October every OLD Schooler was issued a harness, climbing hardware, helmet, and climbing shoes. We first took to the climbing tower to learn how to belay- which included TBUS and belay commands. We carried these foundational skills into every aspect of climbing for the rest of the section. That evening we left Snowbird for our first campsite. The following morning we learned the basics of climbing by bouldering at our first location and then progressed to another bouldering spot later in the week. We had two full days of bouldering along with several opportunities to top-rope at first couple of locations. Everyone was finally able to get a taste of what being attached to the rope on a real rock was like.

On the 16th of October we arrived at our final location. We spent our first day setting up a mock multi-pitch so we could become familiarized with the process of setting up anchors and climbing in a small group. The views of far reaching mountain ranges, sunrises and sunsets that made the sky look like it was set on fire, and leaves changing into fall colors were breathtaking and served as a daily reminder of God’s glory.

Following our multi-pitch practices we spent a day top-roping in these beautiful views. One of the climbs featured two dynamic movements (aka sick dyno). A dyno is a vertical leap from one section of rock to another. Every one of us who attempted the dyno received many shouts of encouragement and support from the group. The next day we were given the opportunity to rappel, followed by some more multi-pitching practice to carry us into our first multi-pitch climb.

On day eight we finally had the chance to multi-pitch on one of three routes. We climbed hundreds of feet into the air, attaching and cleaning gear as we went to reach the final ledge before we summited and then ultimately we reached the summit together. The next day we multi-pitched again to finish off the climbing section.

Throughout the whole section growth in the individual students and group as a whole was very evident. During the climbing section our evening teaching sessions focused on Ephesians chapters 3 and 4 verses 1-16, and spiritual disciplines. Topics such as daily study in God’s Word and building up the body contributed to noticeable spiritual growth in our group. Every morning students could be seen scattered across the campsite studying God’s word and many of us shared a newfound desire to spend more time with the Lord.

We pushed our bodies and minds to the limit as we did things we thought we couldn’t, things we were afraid of, and things we simply had never tried before. We had to trust that we would catch each other, literally if we fell on belay, and figuratively when we opened up and were vulnerable with each other. Throughout the section we shared encouragement, deep thoughts, and simply had a lot of fun while loving the Lord. Because of our mutual love for Jesus and the outdoors we found ourselves laughing and goofing off on the top of a mountain while in awe of God’s creation, a phenomena OLD School creates summed up perfectly by OLD Schooler Luke Laguio’s declaration that “We’re making Christians extreme.”