First Day of School: Rock Climbing Donner Summit

This year we kicked off high school with some awesome rock climbing out at Donner Summit.

When your first week of school is loaded with teacher introductions and syllabus reviews it can be quite a yawn fest. During +Impact School’s first week of school, we build crew culture through team building adventures. This year we took our students on an awesome rock climbing experience.

Jack and Harris, our adventure guides, were completely confident that all safety precautions were engaged during this adventure. Every rope was double secured, students were tied into safety cords and there were multiple forms of back-up. Yet for students who were new to rock climbing, it was as if they could fall off this cliff at any moment.

The excitement began with seeing the equipment and not exactly trusting it. The students had never seen these things, they didn’t know to put their trust in the harnesses or the ropes. And that is where the magic happens, when the students overcome their fears on their own. They build up their own confidence and repel down a huge granite face. About half way through a big smile bursts onto their faces.

20 out of 21 students repelled, and every student moved at a different pace. Some were excited to descend and others were far more hesitant, needing deep breathing before they felt they could take that first step. While the students looked fear directly in the face, there was no actual risk, just a perception.

We made this adventure very approachable to the students with different options on each repel. Either you could take a couple moments of free hang, which most students loved, or you can have the wall the whole time.

“This is a pretty chill first day at school.”

The rock face itself had 2 options, 65 feet and 75 feet of granite. These options were introduced as “one is harder” and “one is easier”, both courses were equally challenging, but to some free hanging was scarier or harder than staying on the wall, and to others it was arguably harder to stay on the way using up a lot of strength.

It’s safe to say regardless of how the day went, it was surely memorable and brought the classes of students (we call them crews) together in a way that only outdoor adventure can.

rock climbing team sitting on a cliff
rock climbing instructor and student
rock climber ascending up a cliff
rock climbing team