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"I'm trusting you because the only thing in the world I'm afraid of is
heights," said Emily Haney, 12, to her climbing instructor, Eric Denzler,
as she hung in her harness while he supported her from below by controlling the
is how Spiderman started, you realize," Denzler answered.
the benefit of web-producing power, Haney and five other middle school-aged kids
challenged themselves and faced their fears while learning the basics of rock
climbing Friday at Smith Rock State Park.
program, called the "Arbor Week Rock Climb," is part of Bend Metro
Park and Recreation District's service adventure programs, where a community
service component is incorporated into an outdoor adventure program.
Thursday, most of the kids who participated in the rock climbing helped to
prepare a tree-planting site in Shevlin Park. Arbor Week is the first full week
in the month of April, and is celebrated in Oregon as a time to plant trees and
recognize their importance.
helping to improve the community, the next day the kids were ready to dabble in
adventure. Some had limited climbing experience, while for others it was their
done indoor climbing, but this is my first time (climbing) outside," Haney
hard getting off the ground sometimes, and finding places for your hands and
feet. I look for places with white marks, where people have climbed with
said that while some kids have had climbing experience in the gym, once they get
outside, everything changes. The outdoor variables create a vastly different,
more challenging experience.
don't have this sense of height in the gym that's part of the outdoor
experience," Denzler said. "When you look down to see where your feet
go, you're looking all the way down to the river."
pointed to the Crooked River, which meanders calmly, hundreds of feet below the
"Cinnamon Slab" and "Easy Reader" climbing routes the
participants were scaling.
here on the rock, everything is a potential place to grab," Denzler said.
"Good climbers can put their hand in something the size of a marble and use
it for a hand-hold. There's a lot for these kids to learn. It's just pushing
themselves with a personal challenge, and having fun."
Caudle, 14, was another young climber participating in the program. He said the
rock climbing was difficult, but still fun.
harder than it looks," Caudle said. "You have to know where to put
your hands and use different techniques, but you get to hang out and have
next service adventure program is the "River Clean Up Canoe,"
scheduled for May 24. Kids in grades six through nine can spend a day of easy
canoeing along the upper Deschutes River while making stops to pick up litter
along the riverbanks as part of the annual Deschutes River cleanup effort.
more information about the program, contact the Park District at 389-7275.