“A Unique Way to See the World”: SUU Outdoors’ Red Rocks Climbing Trip

SUU Outdoors wrapped up an excellent season of adventuring over the weekend of Nov. 19 with a climbing trip to Red Rocks, Nevada.

As some may have been preparing for a week of Thanksgiving feasting, ten students piled into a stuffed van along with their two trip leaders and set out for a weekend of rock climbing, rappelling and camping in the climbing oasis of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area just over 15 miles west of Las Vegas.

The world-renowned canyon served as the group’s playground as they enjoyed trying their hands at several routes and walls. While some of the students had prior experience rock climbing, most had none.

“The climbing was definitely more difficult than I expected,” said psychology major Naomi Memmott. “It was very humbling and I have tons of respect for all rock climbers because it takes a lot of technical skill and endurance.”

The trip served as an excellent educational experience for the beginners as trip leaders Levi Pendleton and Liam Grant taught the group essential skills such as belaying and guided them on their climbs. Despite their inexperience, the new climbers soon found themselves high up on the sandstone crags, looking down on their peers and the majestic scenery.

“I love the feeling of being up super high on the wall and the view is always incredible,” said Achillen Dimond, a biomedical engineering major with some previous experience with climbing. “It’s such a unique way to see the world.”

When they were not on the wall, the group relaxed on the rocks, shed their restrictive climbing shoes and shared in good conversation and food. As the morning waned into afternoon and bodies grew weary from climbing, the group chose to diversify their adventure and treat themselves to some rappelling.

After a quick ground school on the basics and a couple rounds of practice on smaller walls, the trip leaders found a suitable cliff the students could rappel off. As the winter sun teased its departure under the horizon, the adventurers took their turns descending into a golden ravine and headed for camp.

The excitement did not end on the rocks but rather continued into the night and by the campfire where the group engaged in philosophical discussion and jokes.

“We all meshed pretty instantly to the point where we had inside jokes and wild conversations basically the first night,” said Dimond. “No better way to make friends, in my opinion, than to take a van of people to the middle of nowhere.”

SUU Outdoors trips offer students the opportunity to find new friends and experience outdoor thrills such as rock climbing to see the magnificent areas surrounding them that may otherwise go undiscovered.

“I understand that it [can] be intimidating and honestly kind of scary but it is totally worth it,” said Memmott. “You get to build so many new memories and try something new. On top of that, it’s a great environment to meet new, like-minded people.”

As winter months approach, students can expect further outdoor excitement such as snowshoeing. They can visit Basecamp in the Sharwan Smith Student Center on Mondays at noon to sign up for these trips. More information can be found here or by inquiring at Basecamp.

Story and photos by: Jared Clawson