PAA's Rock Climbers Tackle Central Oregon

Eighteen students and four sponsors spent a week this summer defying gravity while suspended on the face of the well-known Smith Rocks in central Oregon. Organized by Portland Adventist Academy (PAA) chaplain Les Zollbrecht, the trip included daily worships, climbs, rest and relaxation.

The climbing activities began in the relatively cooler mornings and continued in the afternoons after the climbing area was out of the direct sun. Early afternoons were spent in shaded areas playing games, talking and resting. Nights were spent in sleeping bags on ground tarps with only the night sky for a ceiling.

This was the first rock climbing experience for several of the climbers who had to step out of their comfort zones and overcome their personal challenges. In the words of one student, Amy Crosby, “The climbing trip was an awesome experience. It gave us an opportunity to conquer our fears and to challenge ourselves.” Unlike competitive sports, the obstacles to overcome in rock climbing are one's own fears, the exertion of climbing, the challenges of the ascent and descent, and the proper use of the climbing aids.

Zollbrecht reports that many different types of climbing were experienced such as crack climbing, nubbin climbing and face climbing. Two routes even included technical cave climbing.

PAA's rock climbing club has set two goals: to invite all interested Portland-area youth to participate in this sport and for a traverse climbing wall to be constructed at the academy where technical climbing will be taught.

October 01, 2003 / Oregon Conference