By Owen Smith
Most of Denison’s community wants to get off the Hill every now and again, but for members of the Outdoors Club, it is a priority. With activities such as hiking, climbing, snowboarding and stargazing, these outdoor enthusiasts will do just about anything as long as it is away from the confines of Denison’s bubble.
“The outdoors club has allowed me to try new activities and see new sites,” said executive board member Lin Teng ’16. Teng joined the club during his freshman year, when he had little to no experience or understanding of one of the club’s favorite activities, rock climbing.
“Rock climbing has been a large part of my life after joining the outdoor’s club,” Teng said. Climbing has a few different categories within the sport, which include sport, trad, bouldering and speed. Bouldering is the only one of these that does not use ropes, but is probably the least dangerous of the four because it does not involve the heights the other disciplines require. For Teng, sport climbing is not just about the ascent, it is the whole experience.
“I really enjoy sport climbing. It’s more risky, but also much more exciting,” he said. “I like the meandering hike to the rock face, the fresh air and breeze, the natural, gritty feeling of the rock and the breath taking views at the top.” The Outdoors Club enjoyed some sport climbing over fall break when they traveled to the New River Gorge in West Virginia.
Charlotte King ’17 enjoyed the trip, and did not need to climb to be able to have a fun time. “The New River was phenomenal and amazing,” King said. “You can be a beginner or advanced with anything they do. I did not climb [on fall break] because I hadn’t done a lot of indoor climbing before the trip, but that was absolutely fine I still got to white water raft and hike.”
The club took a group down to Bridge Day, an event held once a year where base jumpers get catapulted off the nearly 900 foot tall bridge. Events like this are a blast for all the club members, but Teng wants to see the group’s activities to vary even more.
“Part of the problem of expanding our list of available activities is due to our small exec board,” Teng said. “Currently we have the execs that work hard to keep our activities going, but I would like to expand to 6 execs to better manage the club.”
He realizes that the group sometimes appears to be a climbing club because of how often they go climbing. Climbing is a very difficult sport, and Teng believes that physical limitation or a lack of interest should not deter people from joining the club.
“Climbing and skiing are the activities that have had the strongest support in the club’s history,” Teng said. “I would love to have individuals enthusiastic about hiking, kayaking, canoeing and other outdoor activities to contribute in the planning process and lead trips.”
For King, getting into the club was an on-the-fly decision that turned into a chance to go on a trip that she would remember for the rest of her life.
“Everybody is so nice. I started my freshman year and I didn’t know anybody,” King said. “Going to the New River Gorge was so much fun.”
As an executive member, Teng would like to see more people join that are not sure of the club and its activities.
“I would like the Outdoors Club to reach a wider group of students on campus,” he said. Students should consider this club as a way to get away from the daily grind that comes with living at a residential campus and having a rigorous course schedule. The club meets in Parking Level 1 under Slayter Student Union to take a van to Vertical Adventures Climbing Gym every other Sunday from 12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., interspersed with other trips throughout the year.
Photo Courtesy of Lin Teng