Rock-climbing class gives students new opportunities

Casey Wonnenberg

Casey Wonnenberg

Climbing trees, tying knots and rappelling at the HPER is not exactly what most people view as a college class.

In John Ball’s one-credit recreational climbing activities class, that is exactly what about 30 students meet once a week to do.

“I needed one credit, and I thought it would be fun,” said Mindy Meagher, a sophomore general studies major.

The students meet once a week during the last eight weeks of the semester, once a week for two hours. In addition, students were given the opportunity to go on field trips to expand their skills. During the class, students learn how to tie different kinds of knots, how to use the rock-climbing equipment and different rock-climbing techniques.

“It’s a great class for someone to gain confidence in their abilities, and it also lets people explore another recreational activity that may become life-long,” Ball said.

Students had the opportunity to take part in a $350 field trip to Devil’s Tower April 23 and 24. The cost of the trip covered housing, transportation, equipment and guides. After practicing, the students ascended Devil’s Tower.

Students also traveled to Dell Rapids and Blue Mounds State Park in Minnesota.

“The best part about the class is the opportunity to step outside of your limits,” said Ashley Wallin, a freshman biology major.

Although some of the students have had prior rock-climbing experience, others have not. Experience is not required because it is a beginer’s class, but students must be in adequate shape to climb about four flights of stairs. Ball said that students must be able to run 1.5 miles in 11 minutes, do 20 push-ups, and 45 sit-ups.

“If I wasn’t in the class, I probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to experience some of these things,” said Laura Sapp, a sophomore nursing student.

After taking the class, students have enough knowledge about rock-climbing to take up the hobby themselves.

“It’s a great way to get in shape,” Wallin said. “Now I will be able to do it on my own.”

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