Club: Climbing Club
Sponsor: Kris Kowaliuk
Location: Climbing Gym (Beside Apex, past the pool)
Time: Mondays and Thursdays when Mr. Kowaliuk doesn’t have meetings, 3 - 4:15
The splashes of the swimmers mixes with the sound of chatter as the Climbing Club waits for Mr. Kowaliuk to come and unlock the climbing gym. Once we're in the gym, we split off, grabbing harnesses and climbing shoes from their respective hooks and cupboards. Some take on the task of pulling the auto-belay ropes down from the ceiling and pumping them to make sure they're fully functional. Mr. Kowaliuk puts on some rock music, and just like that, Climbing Club has begun. Within mere minutes, people are slapping the chains at the top of the wall, whooping as they release their grips and rapel downwards. The auto-belays are the most popular, since you don't have to have anyone help you, but there are also people free-climbing beneath the 10-foot line, and students with belay certifications belay other students. The smell of chalk and the rubber flooring
permeates the air, along with calls of 'Falling!'. 'Climb-by-committee's form, with several students gathering on the ground below where a student is climbing and offering pointers. Someone falls when they're nearing the top, and the whole group that have been advising him groan in disappointment. Climbers share tips for a particular route with one another, cheering each other on when one makes a jump that they themselves cannot. When someone makes a climb they haven't before, everyone with a hand free applauds. They make a game of making strange poses as they slowly descend from the air, and others catch them, bridal style, when they fall low enough. The sponsors call encouragement from down below, demonstrate techniques, challenge other students to improve, and belay them on request. As the time runs out, we play Musical Walls, a combination of musical chairs and Twister. The last to fall off loses, and Mr. K is so inventive that games only last a few minutes. Calls of 'See you on Thursday!' ring out as we exchange our climbing shoes for sneakers.
Students join this club either through their friends of through a love of climbing. It’s an open and inclusive club that provides everyone with equal opportunity to participate. It’s great for muscle-building, especially for the arms and core, and it’s coupled with a fun activity that makes it less like exercise and more like playing. Students enjoy the time to relax in a stress-free environment with ‘chill’ sponsors and peers, doing an activity they love or chatting with their friends. The climbing community at SAS is tight-knit, and they regularly meet with climbers from other schools to gain perspective and knowledge from outside the SAS bubble.