By Sam M. ’21
Despite what some may believe, rock climbing is more than just a 5th-grade birthday party activity. Many people’s only memories of rock climbing include attending rock climbing birthday parties in elementary school, and hardly any realize that climbing is actually a sport! However, for Mirabelle Brunswick, ’21, rock climbing has been a crucial part of her life for the past 5 years. After Mirabelle went to a 5th-grade rock climbing birthday party, she became interested in a sport, thus she decided to try out at a local gym, and she made the team.
In a typical week of a climber, Mirabelle practices Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and then Sunday for 3 hours. Not surprisingly, rock climbing is more than just a seasonal sport. The fall/winter season is dedicated to boulder climbing, while the spring and early summer are dedicated to ropes climbing. Additionally, in each respective season, there are small local competitions almost every Saturday. In order to attend regionals, climbers must attend a specific number of these local competitions. Depending on how regionals progress, climbers may proceed to qualify for divisional. In the spring during the ropes season, Mirabelle competed in divisionals and placed in the top half!
In the competitions, Mirabelle attends “onsight’’ competitions where one does not actually know the course until the moment the time starts. The overall goal is to complete the climb, however, in order to get a higher score, the judges track the number of “holds” she has, meaning the number of times she grabs each rock on her climb. Then, the holds are scored, and the higher number of holds leads to a higher overall score.
In the future, Mirabelle would like to continue her rock climbing passion into college. Unfortunately, most colleges don’t have climbing teams, so Mirabelle plans to most likely just continue to compete outside of school on her own.
Mirabelle would recommend this unique sport to anyone. She says, “there are people at the gym from the ages of 5 years old to 88 years old, all ages are welcome!” Furthermore, the “unique community atmosphere” of the gym is something that has drawn her to love this sport.