by Bairavi Murugakumar, Grade 11
Some of the best memories of the year are from outdoor trips. This year I went rock climbing in Penticton. I’d never been rock climbing before and I didn’t know what to expect. The seven-hour bus/ferry ride there had taken a lot out of us but we wasted no time heading right to the bluffs when we got there. After picking up our gear, we hiked 10 minutes to an easy beginner wall, learning how to belay and strap our harnesses, we started climbing and getting the feel for what we would be doing for the next four days.
When we finally got to the campsite, it was already getting dark, but we had enough time to set up and eat dinner and we were soon off to bed. The next morning we were up at 6:30 am just as it was getting light out, packing our lunch and finding something to eat for breakfast before we were on the bus heading back to the Skaha Bluffs.
After a short orientation of what to expect that day we were hiking and at the site ready to climb before 8:00 am. Starting to climb and learning different techniques to it was a lot of the first day, everyone getting comfortable. As well as climbing we repelled and did a couple zip lines over the four days. Repelling and zip-lining were way different than climbing. Climbing required trust in whoever was belaying you, but for repelling you needed to trust yourself the most, clipped into a belay system that let you control the speed you walked down the 40 metre cliffs. The two experiences were completely different.
We usually packed up and were at the bus by 4:30 pm, arriving to camp in time for dinner and playing games. After dinner and taking turns having lukewarm showers, we’d have a fire and get out the marshmallows and hot chocolate. Our long days made us tired but we wouldn’t go to sleep peacefully, finding lots of reasons trying to stay up. Eventually we’d be corralled to our respective tents.
The next days were pretty much the same routine, going to a different site every day with harder climbs and higher repels. This trip was different from the others I’ve been on (before this I’d been on the surfing and sea kayaking trips). A lot of this trip was setting your goals and trying to beat them, whether it was climbing a higher-rated wall or going down a steeper repel.
Trust was a big part of the trip: trusting whoever was belaying you or trusting yourself scaling down a 40-metre cliff. It forced you to adapt to your surroundings and work together. Over the entire trip we became closer and built trust between us, always doing everything together. I loved rock climbing in Penticton and it was definitely one of my favourite outdoor trips to date.