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This summer the rock climbing program really got off the ground and has proved a most valuable and interesting addition to the camp. Both boys and girls have had the experience of this new and exciting sport. We, the instructors, have had a great deal of experience in many European mountain ranges and have a great deal to offer the camp or when they climb.
The technicalities of the equipment-the ropes; the harnesses; and karibiners are all very important in their own right but the technicalities must never take precedence over the whole object of the climb - to test yourself against the rock face and of course, get to the top. We explain to any team what rock climbing is all about - the exhilaration one gets from scaling a rock face and the intense concentration needed for body control and movements.
In all, many bunks have been rock climbing, - this was not only an experience for them, but also an education for us in American customs. The picture (or rock face) used for climbing is at Mount Cathalia, near Ellenville and in the winter it is a popular ski resort. The rocks are of a modest size but they aren't excellent face for beginners with all the features of harder climbs e.g. a small traverse, places where pressure holds can be used and an overhang. We teach the campers right from the start that safety is the all priority to any climb. A great deal of time is taken to ensure that there is 100% safety and each child is thoroughly briefed and made aware of the dangers which do exist if the climber acts without thinking.
Rock climbing has been considered for long time a man's sport but this summer has proved that this is no longer true. The girls and senior group leader Judy Corell, excelled themselves and dispelled the old fallacy that rock climbing is a man's sport.
Next year, when the program continues to develop, there should be a climbing wall constructed. This wall will be a great asset to the camp, enabling every camper to climb camp surroundings. The need for introductory trips will be alleviated as the wall should include the same features that the climbs at Mount Cathalia offers.
The main objective of the rock climbing program was to introduce as many campers as possible to the new and exciting sport of rock climbing, to show them have to tackle a very basic pitch, to feel and look for good handholds and footholds and to know that they are completely safe. What we have tried to do is to provide a sound foundation for any climbing the campers wish to do in the future. The teams that went can look at someone abseiling off to a rock face and say that they have done that also. Then when they go along a through way and see a rock face, to them it will no longer be an ordinary rock but an adventure and the challenge.

Dave Adams