Climbing takes relationships to new heights

To strengthen relationships with friends and family, many take up new passions such as rock climbing. The seemingly solo sport creates a community for everyone to belong.

By testing mental and physical limits, rock climbing builds character and mental toughness.
Although rock climbing is a solo sport, according to senior Ava Beskar, the rock climbing community is incredibly supportive and helps each other to achieve different climbs.
“Everyone has different perspectives and different styles of climbing because your height, your flexibility, your strength all varies from person to person,” Beskar said. “It’s really interesting to see how different people approach the exact same route.”
Senior Aditya Bhandari said that he finds that weightlifting has helped him to become a better climber.
“Having that extra upper body strength that I’ve gained from lifting has helped me to progress to harder climbs,” Bhandari said.
Beskar said that rock climbing is not only a physical activity but a way to challenge yourself mentally as well.
“It’s a mental workout because a lot of times when you look at a route for the first time you don’t know how to approach it. It’s a bit of a puzzle that you have to put together,” Beskar said. “So [climbing] is a really good way to have your mind and body work together.”
Senior Nathan Fickert uses visualization to help him mentally prepare for a climb.
“[Before a climb] I would lay on the ground at the base of whatever I was climbing and I would visualize all the moves I would make,” Fickert said. “You have to know what you are doing up on the wall so you have to picture every move in your head before you do it.”
Fickert has been rock climbing from a young age. Fickert has a rock climbing wall in his garage where he would practice almost every day.
For senior Ava Shaw, rock climbing has been a way to connect with her father, Tony, before she leaves for college in the fall.
“I think it’s been really fun getting to spend this time together before I go off to school,” Ava said. “It’s brought us closer, getting to see this insight into his life.”
According to Tony, the shared interest has helped him to connect with his daughter in a new way.
“I used to coach when she was younger but then in the last 10 years it’s been more of the watching aspect of things,” Tony said. “So then being able to take that next step where you are exercising together and finding common interests [is meaningful].”
According to Ava, she and her father were hooked on climbing after their first experience.
“A week after we went rock climbing [for the first time] we went and bought our own climbing gear instead of using rentals because we knew we wanted to stick with it,” Ava said.
Tony said that being able to see yourself progressing as a climber is rewarding.