Rock climbing is a relatively unorthodox activity when compared with mainstream team sports, but that won’t stop Clayton-Bradley Academy from enjoying it. As of Oct. 11, the CBA climbing team has been practicing at Knoxville’s River Sports Climbing Center every Monday and Friday, with monthly competitions scheduled against other schools.

How does rock climbing work? Rock climbing refers to the practice of scaling bluff line and cliffs. More specifically, free climbing (the most common type of climbing), is rock climbing with set ropes for safety, but with no unnatural aid (ladders, artificial steps, etc.). There are also climbing gyms, which are indoor areas containing an artificial wall, plastic handholds, and footholds configured in a way that simulates climbing. These facilities are where competitions and practices are held.

Competitions are divided into rounds, which get increasingly harder chronologically. Then, those rounds are divided into routes. Routes are delineated from each other in the color of their holds. For instance, if the route you are climbing starts on a yellow hold, you can only use yellow holds to reach the top. Each route is labeled with its class (Men/Women) and type (Boulders: Short strenuous, technical routes. Top ropes: Longer, endurance routes). Next, each participant climbs every route, and is scored based on completion and performance. However, there are some important rules.

If a participant uses a hold that is not the color of the competition route their run is ended.

Participants must place both hands on the final hold to attain full points.

So far, CBA has competed in two competitions and even made 15 perfect scores. Students love rock climbing because it is unique, challenging and brings new opportunities to practice sportsmanship, leadership, mentoring, and many other important skills.

Alex Eddlemon is the correspondent for Clayton-Bradley Academy.

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