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Gripping Hobby: Rock Climbing Community at Juniata

(Posted April 7, 2014)

Rock climbing takes hold at Juniata.

Located in a mountainous region, Huntingdon is considered a perfect place to practice rock climbing. A few students have been climbing activity since their freshman year and this year have created the Rock Climbing Club at Juniata. Though the paperwork is still being processed, the group members are still climbing. Christian Gehman, junior and head of the Rock Climbing Group, talks about the new club.

Q: When did you start rock climbing at Juniata?

A: I have been climbing since freshman year. In my freshman year, there was a small group of climbers who used to go on their own, kind of like how my group is now, but it was hard to get in contact with them. My sophomore year, I did not really have any time to make a club, but I still climbed a little bit. It wasn't until this year that I meet a couple of seniors who are really into climbing, and I was able to have a solid group to climb consistently.

Q: Why did you decide to start a rock-climbing group?

A: We started the club to get funding for equipment, but we got denied because of liability issues. The school was worried because someone could get killed or hurt, and the school will be responsible. We need money to buy giant crash pads. It is like a big mattress to help you from getting hurt. We all can't afford, that so we didn't have one, but now people in my group have bought their own.

Q: How many people are in the group?

A: Consistently, there are three or four members, including myself, but the other members are all seniors. It is a pretty small group of people. The largest group we've had is probably nine or 10 people.

Q: How often do you go rock climbing?

A: In the fall, we went almost every weekend. This spring, now that it's starting warming up, we probably will go every weekend as well.

Q: How did you get into rock climbing?

A: I started in high school. I practiced in an indoor gym.

Q: Where are the places you go rock climbing?

A: We go to Hunters Rock. There is a secret cliff that you can find if you explore. We also found other places such as Donation Rock. You have to drive to it-it's about 20 minutes away. It is pretty hard to find places.

Q: What does rock climbing mean to you?

A: Climbing is working out, but not really working out. It is like a game, but you work out at the same time. It is challenging. I just really enjoy it. It really gets you in the moment; when you are climbing, you do not think about anything else because you are focused on the task. It is very refreshing, because you do not worry about anything.

Katherine Tobar, Juniata Online Journalist

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