By Kyle Zinkula
Outdoor Education climbing clinics are great on-campus resources for anyone wanting to take their first steps into the climbing world or hone their skills in a certain area. Every block, Colorado College Outdoor Education (CCOE) and the Ritt Kellogg Climbing Gym offer the same climbing clinics as well as aerial silks courses. Each of the clinics can be found and registered for on Summit: some fill up quickly. The courses are typically about two hours long on a weekday afternoon or evening. Even if a course you wished to sign up for has a full list of participants, it is worth showing up anyway just in case someone decides he or she cannot make it. So, without further ado, here is a rundown of the climbing clinic courses offered at CC.
The first clinic you’ll want to attend is the “Intro to Anchors” course, a class centered around learning the crucial element of technical rock climbing, the anchor. In this clinic you will learn about several varieties of anchors (essentially, an anchor is the way a climber attaches to the wall), learn the parts of an anchor, and eventually construct your own. This clinic is a key first step into the follow-up courses that build upon Intro to Anchors.
One of those follow-up courses will be “Anchor Cleaning and Rappelling.” This session, as its name suggests, will center around learning how to clean anchors, which means taking down all the gear from the top of a set, and rappelling, a method of climbing down a rope so you can retrieve said rope from the bottom. This clinic is the perfect follow-up to learning what anchors are and will bring you one step closer to being able to climb on your own time.
The other follow-up course to Intro to Anchors is “Traditional Gear and Anchors,” which focuses on traditional “trad” climbing, a method in which you place your own gear into the rock face you’re climbing as opposed to using equipment already set in place. You will learn what gear to use and how to place it.
Another useful introductory clinic is the “Top Rope Belaying Clinic.” The course teaches the participants how to top rope belay, that being with a rope that is secured at the top of the route. The alternative method of belaying is lead belaying in which the climber secures themselves in bolts or gear on the climb up.
Once you have completed the Top Rope Belay Course, you can sign up for the intermediate climbing clinic, “Lead Belaying.” This course will teach you how to lead belay as both the climber and the individual belaying.
Now that you have the information on the various climbing clinics offered at CC, I encourage you to explore the options, sign up, and learn about the exciting world of climbing!