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An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

An upbeat website for a downtown school

the Southerner Online

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Students scale new heights through rock climbing hobby

Carolyn Harty
Senior Daniel Ratner has been climbing for seven years at Wall Climber Rock Club.

Bringing together the perfect mix of adrenaline, exercise and defiance of gravity, indoor rock climbing has drawn Midtown students to different gyms across Atlanta to explore the ropes of rock climbing. 

Senior Daniel Ratner has been climbing at Wall Crawler Rock Club for seven years and is currently employed there as an instructor. Ratner enjoys the incorporation of individual and collaborative elements of climbing. 

“While rock climbing can be in the form of a team, it’s really every individual for themselves,” Ratner said. “The collaboration is through working out and supporting each other but when it comes to competition it’s just based on everyone’s own skill.” 

Ratner said he enjoys climbing as an alternate form of exercise, finding a sense of peace during his climbing time. 

“I rock climb because it’s a unique activity and form of exercise that never gets boring,” Ratner said. “There’s constantly new climbs going up of different styles and there’s 100s of routes in the gym. Instead of going and playing basketball or tennis for hours over and over, you’re constantly trying something you’ve never done before which is exhilarating and is just a peaceful way to exercise and get rid of stress.”

Similarly, junior Duncan Smith appreciated the physical benefits of climbing that can be harder to find in other activities. 

“I climb mainly because I really enjoy it and it aligns with other interests that I have in body weight, strength and control,” Smith said. 

Along with physical benefits, climbing has expanded Smith’s social circle, introducing him to not just a new way to work out, but new people to enjoy the sport with. 

“Socially, I’ve met some really cool people through climbing and I think it’s a sport that attracts a certain type of person,” Smith said. “In general, climbers are really nice and excited people who enjoy interacting with others, sharing knowledge, and supporting each other. It’s very communal.” 

Ratner also recognizes the diverse environment displayed at different gyms around Atlanta, providing a sense of comradery for climbers. 

“Whatever climbing gym you go to has a unique community of people who either plan to be there at the same time every week, or you just meet people while in the gym and become friends by just trying to figure out a climbing problem and giving each other advice,” Ratner said. “You can meet people of all backgrounds and ages and bond over climbing.”

Junior Anders Hart joined Wall Climbers around four months ago and has enjoyed bouldering, a specific climb he specializes in. 

“Bouldering, which is what I do, is a split between using your head and climbing because though the routes are shorter, there are several different ways to solve them, and it’s more of a challenge against yourself to do a harder and harder climb,” Hart said. 

Like almost all sports, rock climbing poses risks that climbers are willing to take. 

“The biggest disadvantage of climbing is probably the risk of injury,” Smith said. “It’s a weird sport in the sense that you are mainly trying to strengthen the tendons in your fingers and hands, which are very fragile.”

Despite the risks, Smith enjoys the many physical and mental benefits that come with climbing.

“My favorite thing about climbing is making progress and getting stronger,” Smith said. “I’ve also always really appreciated how natural climbing is and the relevance it has to all sorts of different things.” 

Ratner encourages others to get out and try rock climbing no matter what skill level you think you may be at.

“You really should just go and experience it for yourself even if you’re a beginner and see how you like it,” Ratner said. “There is a wide range of difficulty climbs and you will easily find people at the same skill level as you so you won’t get discouraged or intimidated.”

Likewise, Smith encourages those looking into climbing to give it time and not give up. 

“For someone just getting into climbing, I think it’s important to give yourself time and stay optimistic,” Smith said. “Initially, everything will feel really hard and most aspects of climbing take time to understand. Once you have a basic level of ability and understanding it can be really rewarding as you progress.”


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About the Contributor
Carolyn Harty
Carolyn Harty, Editor in Chief
Carolyn Harty is a senior and a sports editor in chief. This is her third year writing for The Southerner. When she’s not writing, she enjoys playing soccer and hanging out with friends. She is excited to continue writing for The Southerner.

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