Rock Climbing Mounts in Popularity

THE+BETA%3A+Senior+Dillon+Charlton+hangs+from+the+ceiling+in+%E2%80%9Cthe+cave%E2%80%9D+at+Planet+Granite+in+San+Francisco.+Photo+by%3A+William+Choulos
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Rock Climbing Mounts in Popularity

THE BETA: Senior Dillon Charlton hangs from the ceiling in “the cave” at Planet Granite in San Francisco. Photo by: William Choulos

THE BETA: Senior Dillon Charlton hangs from the ceiling in “the cave” at Planet Granite in San Francisco. Photo by: William Choulos

THE BETA: Senior Dillon Charlton hangs from the ceiling in “the cave” at Planet Granite in San Francisco. Photo by: William Choulos

THE BETA: Senior Dillon Charlton hangs from the ceiling in “the cave” at Planet Granite in San Francisco. Photo by: William Choulos

By Mae Puckett

THE BETA: Senior Dillon Charlton hangs from the ceiling in “the cave” at Planet Granite in San Francisco. Photo by: William Choulos

A sport once enjoyed only by REI employees, extreme sports enthusiasts and granola eaters, rock climbing has recently risen in popularity among Tam students. In the last year, many students have flocked to climbing gyms and campgrounds to participate in the sport.

At rock climbing gyms – such as Planet Granite in San Francisco – varying degrees in climbing difficulty allow everyone, from beginner to expert, to enjoy the sport. Different rating systems, like the Yosemite Decimal System (Y.D.S.) and V Scale, rank the difficulty of routes.

“The first number explains the steepness of the wall; number one would be [like] walking on flat ground, while something like a three is steep incline,” sophomore Brenden Satake, a member of Planet Granite, said. “The walls in climbing gyms are level 5 on this part of the scale,” Satake said, refering to the Y.D.S. system, which is used in conjuction with the V Scale at Planet Granite.

Senior Jack Brown first tried the sport because his friends enjoyed it. “I knew a few people who climbed at a gym close by, so I tried it out once with a few friends. I liked it so much that I got a membership to Planet Granite the next time I went,” he said.

Senior Adam Sultan also found the sport through word of mouth. “Over three years ago, I joined Marin Search & Rescue (MSAR) and found myself enjoying high-angle rescue. After training in Yosemite for the first time, an MSAR member invited me to go climbing with him in the valley and I fell in love with the sport.”

Sultan sees more of climbing’s rising popularity when he’s outdoors. “My outdoor experience is fairly limited…but my favorite spot as of now would definitely be Tuolumne Meadows,” he said. “It’s good to see so many people into the sport, but that feeling easily goes out the window when you have to wait a couple hours for a climb.”

So what makes climbing so popular? “It’s really good exercise and works pretty much every part of the body,” Brown said. “It’s also a great mental challenge. Each climb is like a puzzle to be solved. I spend as much time thinking about the problems as actually doing them.”

Senior Misha Padidar has also taken up climbing recently. “There is no one screaming in your face or making you do anything you don’ t want to,” he said. “Everyone is supportive. They will push you and help you get to your goals at your own pace.”