Rock Climbing Off and Running Second Semester
Maj Harold Compton
The Marine Military Academy Rock Climbing team is in full swing this semester with 11 new cadets signing up for the activity. This semester is an entirely new group of cadets with no returning cadets from last year. The program has the cadets at the Tower/Climbing wall at 4:00 PM each afternoon for an hour of work. Since rock climbing is an inherently dangerous sport, the physical fitness of cadets is very important. For this reason the activity always begins with a short exercise period to help loosen up the cadets and build up strength before beginning the days activity. One particular exercise the cadets seem to enjoy is doing their fingertip pullups each day. This exercise has them doing pullups on a small climbing hold onto which they can only place the last joint of their fingers. As might be expected during the first days of the semester, many of them found this impossible to do but after only two weeks they are showing marked improvement. This exercise is performed before and at the end of each days activity and the number of required pullups increases each week.
Rock Climbing Training
The training program for rock climbing began at the beginning of the semester with the initial classes covering basic knowledge about types of ropes, knots and care of equipment. Cadets were also given some very basic instruction on hand and foot placement and movement. Cadets were then permitted to try out the wall with belaying being done by their coach. This was following by detailed classes on proper belay techniques and practical application under close supervision until each cadet master this most important skill. The rock climbing classes then moved to the topic of rappelling and each cadet received instruction and practical application in rappelling with a variety of devices, to include tube belay device, figure 8, double wrap on a carabiner and using a munter hitch. The cadets all had to show mastery of rappelling with each device. During the second week of the training cadets began spending more time on the wall and received additional training on climbing techniques. Most days the cadets found themselve exhausted with arms aching at the end of the day but each one had a big smile on his face!
Upcoming Plans for Rock Climbing
The immediate future for the rock climbing team is to work as hard as possible to increase their strength and endurance and refine their techniques. Additional training sessions will include subjects such as self and buddy rescues, escaping a belay, mechanical advantage and its uses in rock climbing and anchor systems. Additionally, cadet will receive some lectures on the history and some important figures in rock climbing to help instill an appreciation for the sport. One of the goals of this program is to help develop a love of a sport which a person can be involved in their entire life. Rock climbing is a sport that is not restricted by age and climbers in their senior years are not uncommon so it is hoped that our cadets will continue rock climbing many years after leaving the Academy. Later this semester the team will be travelling to the University of Texas, Pan American to climb and compete in rock climbing competitions. This is something we have been involved in for several years and have a wonderful relationship with the UT Pan Am staff.
Rock Climbing Team Captains are Cadet Timpany and Cadet Hamblin
Rock Climbing Photos
Click Rock Climbing Photo see the cadets working on the Marine Military Academy climbing wall.
To learn more about the Marine Military Academy visit our website at http://www.mma-tx.org or request information at http://www.mma-tx.org/MMA/admissions/admissions_form2.html