This past block break, eight beginner climbers set out to learn the ropes of rock climbing within various regions of Colorado Springs. In fact, this was the very first ORC block break trip that focused exclusively on climbing. However, due to the adverse weather conditions, the group decided to practice indoor climbing. They were lucky enough to be able to take advantage of the brand-new Ritt Kellogg climbing gym and other local gyms.
Those who signed up for the trip ranged from first-years to juniors, and most had never been climbing before. Some had been climbing indoors, yet only a few had ever climbed outside.
The plan had originally been to climb in Garden of the Gods for a couple of days, and then drive down to Shelf Road, a major climbing destination near Cañon City.
The first day of block break was spent in the Ritt Kellogg climbing gym. The group, led by climbing enthusiasts Jamie Sarafan, Michael Kauzmann, and Ellen Smith, started off with some icebreakers and basic climbing techniques. That night, the group cooked dinner together and watched climbing movies. The next morning, they decided to check out the Sport Climbing Center in Colorado Springs where they got some bouldering practice in. On the third day, the group went for a morning walk through Garden of the Gods before venturing down the street to Cityrock, the popular off-campus climbing gym. At Cityrock, they practiced top-roping, bouldering, slacklining, and even a little bit of dry-tooling – using ice climbing tools inside. After three full days of climbing, the last day consisted of sleep and a giant pancake breakfast.
Jamie Sarafan, a co-leader of the trip, has been ice climbing and mountaineering all over the country for about five years. She’s been involved with the ORC climbing program ever since coming to CC. “Like most climbing trips I’ve lead, I get very excited teaching beginner climbers and sharing my love for the sport,” said Sarafan. “I also love watching and helping facilitate new climbers reach whatever goals they’ve set. Climbing is a very tangible, concrete way of building confidence, trust, problem solving, and so many other highly transferable life lessons and skills.”