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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Let’s go climb a rock

Photo courtesy of Hayley Kavanagh

Students test their lead climbing skills on Saturday, Oct. 15 in the Student Recreation Center 

Learning how to lead climb on a rock wall is not an easy feat, but there is always a helping hand to reach any skill level.
Texas A&M Outdoor Adventures provides skills clinics, gear and organized trips to bring people closer to nature. On Oct. 16, the Outdoor Adventure staff hosted a lead climbing clinic to develop advanced climbing skills. To attend, participants must have completed a prerequisite top rope climbing skills course, according to With more lead climbing clinics, as well as beginner and intermediate backpacking trips in October and November, now is the time to plan an Aggie outdoor adventure.
Anyone who participates in the lead climbing clinic should have prior climbing experience, Jason Saladiner Jr. said, lead climbing clinic instructor.
“It is harder to climb lead; it’s a lot more tiring,” Saladiner said. “We recommend that you be familiar with climbing, but there is no specific level you need to be at.”
Throughout the clinic, instructors provide directions on how to properly clip onto the anchors and how to lead belay. The skills are taught step-by-step to ensure that each student has a turn practicing and getting comfortable with the equipment.
“We usually do a demonstration to show the whole process,” Saladiner said. “The first two-to-three hours are just on the ground to make sure everyone is confident, and then we take them up on the wall.”
At the end, the students are tested on what they learned and given a certification of lead climbing from the A&M Recreation Center.
“It shows that they know how to tie in and belay,” Saladiner said. “We do a back-up belay, but realistically it’s on them.”
Zachary Williams, construction science senior, said he completed his first climbing training at the Rec before signing up for the advanced class.
“[Lead climbing] was less intimidating than I expected it to be,” Williams said. “I felt more comfortable in a more controlled environment with good instruction.”
The next lead climbing clinic will be held on Nov. 13., and participants can sign up at
On Oct. 21-23, beginners can register for a backpacking weekend at Lake Georgetown that includes everything from pre-trip planning to food and gear. On Nov. 23-27, Outdoor Adventures will lead an intermediate to advanced 28.6 mile backpacking trip to the Eagle Rock Loop in Arkansas, which includes multiple peaks and river crossings. Advanced registration is required for both trips.
For a full list of Rec skills classes and Outdoor Adventures including kayaking, fly fishing and camping trips, visit
Hayley Kavanagh is a Recreation, Parks & Tourism Sciences junior and contributed this piece from the course JOUR 359, Reporting Sports, to The Battalion.

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