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Scaling heights: Students participate in rock climbing

Courtesy Allie Naiva

By Abby Chong, Co-Sports Editor

According to junior Allie Naiva, rock climbing is more than just scaling walls; it is a sport that pushes the body and tests the mind.

Climbing involves ascending rock formations, which requires strength, agility and problem-solving skills. Naiva began their climbing journey at Gravity Vaults in Radnor in eighth grade. They were first drawn to the sport for its physicality, but found that they enjoyed the complexity of the sport as well.

“I wanted to do a sport that is challenging intellectually as well as physically. There’s a lot of problem solving to it. It’s not just about strength, and I liked that,” Naiva said.

Naiva emphasizes how climbing is about overcoming challenges and connecting with others. Despite the initial discomfort that newcomers may feel while climbing, Naiva encourages others to try the sport.

“You’re going to be sore a lot. Your hands are going to be ripped up constantly. You just have to know that’s how it’s going to be going into it and know that your current strength is not going to be very strong and you’re not going to be very good at it, and that’s okay,” Naiva said. “If you persevere through that, then it can be a really enjoyable experience. Don’t get discouraged by everyone around you being a pro.”

Naiva believes that climbing fosters lasting relationships that help bring young people into a welcoming community. They find that climbing allows them to connect with others on a deeper level.

“I’ve met so many random strangers who I’ve just talked to for hours while climbing because of that culture around it,” Naiva said. “I’m an introvert. I don’t really talk to people in public who I don’t know, but when I climb, I’m like a completely different person because of this culture surrounding it. I think that’s really cool.”

Sophomore Dani Malstrom climbs at Philadelphia Rock Gyms in Malvern. Her practice routine includes warming up, then tackling challenging climbs and finishing with an hour of workouts.

“You get to know a lot of people through climbing,”Malstrom said. “It’s really cool to see yourself improving because when you send a climb, you know that you could do something now that you couldn’t do before.”

For Naiva and Malstrom, climbing offers an opportunity for personal growth.

“Climbing is one of those sports that’s really inclusive of everyone. At the place where I climb I find that everyone is always really friendly,” Naiva said. “If anyone is interested in climbing, I think that it’s a really great activity not only if you want to do it competitively, but if you want to just have fun. It’s just a really great social experience as well.”

Abby Chong can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Abby Chong
Abby Chong, Co-Sports Editor
Abby Chong is a sophomore and Staff Reporter for The Spoke. She enjoys covering sports games as well as writing sports articles. Outside of the newspaper, she plays competitive softball and participates in Conestoga's stage crew and marching band.