Overcoming Fears; Climbing in Buena Vista
A beginners experience in sport climbing class, as experienced by Anna Sophia Wolner and written by Lauren Swanson
Leadville community members and Colorado Mountain College students of all ages spent a weekend climbing in Buena Vista enjoying spring sunshine and improving their rock climbing skills. The Sport Climbing class was made up of a diverse group of abilities ranging from never-ever beginners to advanced climbers. Experienced instructors, Cheyenne Chaffee and Kip Davis, were able to easily adapt their lessons to each student’s individual abilities and challenge them accordingly.
“We spent all three days outside, getting hands-on experience. It was gorgeous in Buena Vista, luckily. All weekend we were fortunate enough to avoid rain and snow.” Says Associate of Arts student Anna Sophia Wolner, a beginner climber, who signed up for her first outdoor class in Leadville, “I primarily take classes that align with my degree, but this was a fun way to fill my elective credits, and I pride myself on being open-minded enough to try things outside of my comfort zone.”
Nine students attended the weekend long Sport Climbing class, all varying ages and from all ability levels. Outdoor students mixed in naturally with Natural Resource Management students, and community members. “It truly defied my assumption that only one type of person took classes like this.”, said Anna, “In total, there were about nine of us, which felt just right—too many or too few people can disrupt the flow of a class; we got along swiftly and developed a group dynamic.”
Stepping outside of your comfort zone to learn a new skill can be intimidating, but it’s important to overcome these fears and obstacles to encourage growth and progress. “For me personally, I overcame a lot of fears and trust barriers through this weekend intensive course. A combination of putting myself into a brand-new activity with very little knowledge and pushing myself past what I thought I could do culminated into a very satisfying, adrenaline-filled experience.”
On one of her first climbing experiences, Anna Sophia learned to trust her gear, while being suspended over steep rock faces – a new and challenging experience for most. “I felt so empowered once I realized I could actually DO it, I could conquer this climb and simultaneously conquer my fears. Even though I was shaking and sort of in shock, the first time I reached the top of a route, I literally felt on top of the world.”
Colorado Mountain College in Leadville offers an ideal environment and incredible resources for those looking to improve their skills, learn something new or step outside of your comfort zone. “It takes venturing out of your comfort zones to really amaze yourself. The kind of self-love, strength, and bravery you discover when you rock climb for the first time can be intensely therapeutic and beautiful.”