Climbing Club: A Blair club?

Jan. 10, 2024, 1:13 p.m. | By Angelina Cao | 4 months, 2 weeks ago

A student-run, unofficially official club

Climbing Club Photo courtesy of Angelina Cao.

Every Friday, three cars leave from Blair’s student parking lot and head to the same location, Movement Rockville, a climbing gym with more than 38,000 square feet of varied climbing terrain. These cars are transporting members of Climbing Club, a “Blair club” with many asterisks. 

The ascent of Climbing Club

Last year, Climbing Club was run by just two Blair seniors with Aiden O’Connor as their only member. With the graduation of the two seniors, O’Connor was left as the sole member of Climbing Club, promoting him to Senior team captain.

This year, O’Connor has made it his mission to increase the club’s attendance. At each meeting throughout the year, there has been a steady increase in members. “Like the first time, it was just me…And then the next time, we had seven people, and then 13, and the most that we ever had at once was 16 people.” O’Connor says.

Senior David Smedley has been a part of Climbing Club since the beginning of this year and has watched the club grow bigger around him. “It was really exciting. Aiden put a lot of effort into making this really happen. Last year…wasn’t nearly as prosperous. So this is sort of a miracle.” Smedley says.

Now, Climbing Club is a permanent fixture at Movement Rockville every Friday, and is one of the biggest clubs that meet regularly at the climbing gym, with an average 12 members every meeting.

Knot official

Technically speaking, Climbing Club is not a Blair club. They do not have a teacher sponsor nor do they receive any funding from Blair. Everything from transportation to gym membership is covered by the students of the club.

If anything, association with Blair may just bring more complications. Being an official athletic club would just come with more waivers and it would limit Climbing Club’s membership to only Blair students, which would force out numerous members.

Smedley is one of the two members of Climbing Club who does not attend Blair. Despite his school having a Climbing Club of its own, Smedley still prefers the club’s community at Blair. “My school has a very small climbing club…[with] like five people but no one is there consistently,” Smedley says. 

Regardless of the technicalities, Climbing Club has a community tighter than some of the official clubs at Blair. Junior Sarah O’Connor joined the Climbing Club for the first time two months ago and has been attending the weekly meetings ever since. “[Climbing Club] is very encouraging…everyone cheers everyone on and it is a team that likes to see growth in others,” she says.

At the end of each Climbing Club meet, members gather together for a dinner to end off the night with delicious food and lively conversations. 

Rock n’ ropes

At each weekly meeting, most members attempt 3 to 5 ascents. Each climb is ranked by the Vermin Scale (V-Scale) ranging from V-0, which are the most beginner climbs, to V-17, climbs that are also known as the “Burden of Dreams” for their nearly insurmountable surfaces.

In the Climbing Club, members attempt ascents within the range of V-0 to V-4. During each attempt, every other member from the team watches, cheers, and offers advice on how to scale the rock face. 

Even on the mat, people are discussing climbs and the best way to reach the top. The most popular technique in the Climbing Club is the “Dyno,” a maneuver where climbers use their momentum and jump to the next handhold in an incredible show of strength and skill. At each meeting, there are screams, “Dyno it!” regardless of the practicality or situation.

Taking place every Friday, Climbing Club is a great way for many of its members to end a school week due to its inclusive and fun community. “It gives me something to look forward to…Friday is always there.” Smedley says. 

If you have an interest in climbing, be sure to check out Climbing Club! Like O’Connor says, “We get together, we climb, and we have fun!”

Last updated: Jan. 10, 2024, 4:21 p.m.

Angelina Cao. Hi, my name is Angelina and I am a writer! I like animation and crocheting :) More »

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