Rock climbing requires both physical strength and quick problem solving

A puzzle. That’s what many rock climbers think about their sport.

Rock climbing, a unique sport with many quirks, is a sport full of logic, trial and error, strength and great determination that is offered all around Brookline. It’s highly recommended by climbers; amongst many things that is likeable about this sport is that it’s so different from other sports.

Sophomore Atlas Noubir, who climbs mainly for fun and exercise, says that, for him, rock climbing is more appealing than other sports because it requires more thinking.

“Most of the time I really do not enjoy exercises or sports, especially competitive sports. But I’ve always liked rock climbing, even though it requires physical strength,” Noubir said. “Even though it requires exercising, it feels like a puzzle because you’re looking for all these holes, you’re looking for how to create a route, how to do something best.”

According to Sophomore Fisher Fenrenbach, rock climbing is not necessarily a competitive sport, unlike many other sports, but that there are competitions.

Competitors usually go to the hosting gym with certain climbs that are assigned a number of points, which in a span of around four minutes they try to scale. Points are taken off for attempts that are unsuccessful.

Although many see rock climbing as a dangerous activity, freshman Benji Kaufman believes that there should be no worries about injuries and safety.

“As long as you’re doing it safely and with enough protections and you’re aware of your surroundings, you’re safe. Outdoors, you just have to be constantly aware of everything that’s going on and if you’re aware and double-check everything, then everything’s pretty safe,” Kaufman said. “I mean you could sprain an ankle if you take a bad fall, but if you do everything right, that’s the worst that can happen.”

Documentaries like “Free Solo,” about rock climber Alex Honnold climbing El Capitan, a popular tall wall-like mountain in Yosemite, with no ropes, may lead some to believe rock climbing is dangerous. However, Fenrenbach said that it does not actually depict the rock climbing community as a whole.

“Our intention is not to go out and do some deadly thing that we could die very easily doing. He’s a special dude, and that’s his life goal, and that’s good for him,” Fenrenbach said. “I’m glad he accomplished it but I think most of the climbing community is like, ‘We would never do that, but we’re happy for him.’”

Another misconception is the lack of diversity within the rock climbing community Noubir said he feels as though it is not portrayed as open for all kinds of people.

“There is a stereotype of who a rock climber is, like this white dude with big muscles, but where I went, it was a lot more diverse. There were women, POC [people of color] and queer (LGBTQ+) people that would rock climb. One of the rock climbing mentors was working to get more diversity in rock climbing, which was really cool,” Noubir said.

Even though rock climbing might be easier for a certain body type and height, rock climbing is open to anyone and everyone can succeed.

“I’m not really that tall and most of the routes are designed for taller people, but I got better at doing controlled jumps and jumping up,” Noubir said.

According to Noubir, rock climbing is something anyone can do and try, especially after the pandemic ends.

“Even if it requires strength and force, it is really elegant. You can do it in really nice, elegant ways. I guess it’s just really fun too. And you can make friends, be part of the community and you can play games around it,” Noubir said.

According to Fenrenbach, there are places all over Brookline that are open where people can try it out for fun and maybe discover a new passion.

Kaufman highly encourages people to start climbing.

“I personally love it,” Kaufman said. “I recommend it to everyone, but I’m not sure if people will love it. It’s probably my favorite thing to do, so I think that everyone should give it a try.”