Page One

Rock climbing novices celebrate achievements

By Kenyatte Davis Daily Planet staff
Saturday August 18, 2001

The youth from the Cal Adventures rock climbing camp celebrated five days of hard work Friday by picnicking with their families and camp advisors in the shadows of Pinnacle Rock at Remillard Park, at Keeler Avenue and Poppy Lane in the north Berkeley hills. 

After a week spent learning rock-climbing techniques and a morning spent climbing up and repelling down the 30-foot Pinnacle, the 10 to 13 year olds were happy to feast with their instructors, parents and fellow students; but most were even more enthusiastic about getting back on the rock after lunch. 

“I love climbing because it’s a great challenge,” said 13-year-old Nora Somogy. “Making it to the top feels really good, especially after you’ve worked so hard to get there.” 

The camp has been running in weekly sessions since June 18 and has taught 8 to 15 year olds techniques in climbing, bouldering (climbing small rocks more quickly without ropes), repelling and belaying (supporting a climber from the ground with a rope to prevent injuries). 

Nick Buchanon, head guide for Youth Rock, has been working with the campers all summer.  

“I like this camp because it’s a great way to introduce kids to a sport that requires a professional introduction to,” he said. “It also gives them a new appreciation for their city, this is a side of Berkeley a lot of people never get to see.” 

Each session begins with a Monday introductory class at the climbing wall at UC Berkeley, and is followed by visits to three other rock sites during the week. 

The $135 camp lasts three hours each day for a week, with sessions in the morning and the afternoon.  

Each session has space for 12 students, and all sessions, except for this week, have been full. No space is available for next week’s camp. 

For many students the camp is the first exposure to rock climbing, and it seems to leave a good impression on many of the young minds. 

“My cousin recommended it to me,” said 10-year-old Nicole Tomita. “I came last year too. I love the climbing part, but everything about the camp is really great.” 

Although rock climbing has been classified as an inherently dangerous sport, the camp supervisors did a great job watching over their young students and only one person (a clumsy reporter) suffered even a minor injury. However, one student did have some good advice for any prospective rock climbers: 

“Don’t get rope burn,” said Somogy, “because it hurts!”