Sophomores climb their way to the top, start new club


By Sanjana Sanghani, Staff Reporter

No fear. Despite three in five people having a fear of heights, sophomore Karis Blagden says she only experiences joy when climbing up a 60-foot rock wall, which is why she took the initiative to create a new rock climbing club. 

First introduced to rock climbing by her mother and brother, Blagden has been climbing for about three years.

“Once you climb up to a certain point and you’re feeling the strain in your muscles, you have to learn to push yourself because you know it’s going to be so rewarding once you’re at the top,” Blagden said.

Blagden’s rock climbing experiences sparked an interest in her friend, sophomore Megan Adams. Adams says that she “instinctively knew she wanted to continue” climbing and was “inspired by other advanced rock climbers” since the first time that she climbed with Blagden.

Even though Adams and Blagden mostly participate in indoor climbing and in lead climbing, or climbing with a partner, Blagden has also dabbled in climbing outdoors. For example, Blagden once climbed up a 100-foot cliff in Colorado. 

“It’s really different climbing outdoors. The view is always amazing once you get to the top, but climbing indoors makes you feel more safe and comfortable,” Blagden said.

Adams also says that Blagden provides her with a sense of reassurance since Blagden is belaying her — keeping Adams from falling too far if she slips — from below. 

“You have to have a lot of trust in your partner, because they are keeping you from falling. (Blagden) is my support system: giving me encouragement or cheering me on when needed,” Adams said. 

Inspired by their “fun experiences,” Adams and Blagden started the rock climbing club this year. Before holding their first meeting, Blagden and Adams aspired to attract new members and offered free carabiners — metal hooks used as safety closures — at the club fair. Both also plan for club members to rock climb indoors at the Gravity Vault, a rock-climbing gym in Radnor. Blagden also says that the club will try to hold bake sales so that the fee to climb at Gravity Vault will be cheaper.   

“Our main goal right now is to attract people who are new to the sport so we can create a community of rock climbers,” Blagden said.  

Blagden and Adams plan to teach the members correct rock-climbing techniques and to give out safety forms to ensure that safety is never compromised.  

“Megan and I are both belay-certified, and because you are putting your life into the hands of the belayers, we know that we have to be focused to ensure that you don’t fall,” Blagden said. 

Additionally, Blagden says that she hopes the club will provide members an opportunity to  “unwind and learn a new skill.”