Students explore the wilderness of rock climbing



Senior Luke Reynolds climbs up the side of a cliff. “If we keep pushing, then the sky’s the limit,” Reynolds said.

Katelynn Gibson, Editor-In-Chief

After a long stressful day at work or school, going out into nature can make a big difference — a fresh breeze blowing through ones hair, the beautiful scenery surrounding. With climbing gear in place, a hand is placed on the first crevice of a rock. As one begins to move up the rock, an instant adrenaline rush is felt. While climbing, all fears disappear; only staggered breaths and the rock above remain.
While Missouri is not known for rock climbing, there are many sites that students at Nixa High School have found.
There are multiple kinds of rock climbing. The first is lead climbing, which is climbing as far up as one can in six minutes. The second is bouldering, which means climbing with only climbing shoes. The third kind is speed climbing, where athletes try to beat their own time or someone else to get to the top of the rock.
Freshman Nathan Fouse and senior Luke Reynolds go climbing together as much as they can. Their favorite place to go climb indoors is at Zenith Climbing Center in Springfield. However, when they climb outside, they travel down to Horseshoe Canyon Ranch, Arkansas or Colorado.
Fouse started climbing when he was in eighth grade and has continued with it ever since.
“Inside, it is definitely a challenge, but outside it is sort of relaxing,” Fouse said. “It’s a weird relaxing — being out there where else nobody is.”
While it is a good source of adrenaline, there are many consequences that can arise. Watching YouTube videos of rock climbing fails is how Reynolds was introduced to climbing.
“I would definitely stick to your level, but some gear tips I would stick to are more flat shoes, that are not as aggressive and always keep working,” Reynolds said. “Set your mind to something and work towards it but never give up.”
It is essential to make sure to use the right gear. Some significant things are, to know foot placement at all times and to have adequate equipment for the type of climbing one may be accomplishing.
While rock climbing can be a good workout, it is also a mental workout due to the constant danger.
“For me I would say honestly just persevere and keep on going,” Reynolds said. “When you are struggling to get a route and you just want to stop, I would recommend to keep on working on it.”
When rock climbing, one is usually on their own or with friends. It can be enjoyable to make goals for the future.
“If we keep pushing, the sky’s the limit,” Fouse said. “It gives more opportunity to travel, so we can go to Colorado and Europe or California as we get older.”
Rock climbing is graded at different levels of difficulty depending on the type of climb.
“I am more of an elite climber,” Fouse said. “Say it is a straight up wall with a bunch of easy holds that are like 5.5, 5.15 is the hardest route in the world,” Fouse said.
While there is always competition in sports, there is also an aspect of pushing one another to do their best.
“We are just trying to get better, but we are working together to do this,” Reynolds said. “There is definitely a level of competitiveness to it along with the fun aspect.”
Simply being out in nature with friends is Fouse’s favorite part.
“I climbed a wall and it was really relaxing,” Fouse said. “You don’t hear anything but the wind and nature and it sounds so peaceful. Your friends have that mutual respect where you do not talk and just enjoy the moment.”
The memories that come along with a new are the most meaningful.
“I was training one time with some friends and we were doing some lead climbing, and one took a 20-foot lead fall and he just slammed into the other,” Reynolds said.
While rock climbing does provide fun indoors with friends, it does not provide adventure to all climbers.
“When you are on an actual bigger wall outside, it is definitely different than being indoor,” Reynolds said. “The way indoor is, they set holds but outdoors you can make whatever of it.”
Being able to push oneself to new levels creates the ability to create unforgettable memories.
“After I climbed that 1,200 foot mountain in Colorado, it was like topping out on it,” Fouse said. “Looking over and seeing you are above the clouds and you are just like looking at the canyon.”