Indoor Beginnings to Outdoor Pursuits

Sunday, November 27, 2016 - By: Hannah R, Mackenzie ’18; Photo by Tegwyn C, Allard ‘17

Second term of Outdoor Pursuits is off to a great start. In the past two weeks, we already have a hike, two pool sessions, and two chances to climb under our belts. 

Tuesday, November 15th, the first day of second term sport, was overcast and chilly, but the view from the summit of Mt. Tzouhalem was still stunning. Eagles glided in and out of the fog, drawn to Cowichan Bay by their annual feast of salmon, as we discussed the safety, responsibility, and commitment so essential to ODP. 

Thursday afternoon found us at the Boulders Climbing Gym in Saanich. While the new members of the group learned how to safely belay climbing partners, the veterans enjoyed some bouldering and top-rope climbing in the excellent facilities afforded by the gym. 

Following a cube van full of kayaks, paddles, and spray decks, the group rode a bus to the Ladysmith pool the following Saturday. There, we practiced wet exits, and even the fundamentals movements of rolling.  

Upon our return to the climbing gym last Tuesday, the new ODP members passed their belay tests, allowing them to join the rest of us in enhancing skill and increasing endurance on the walls. The challenge for that day was to climb a route one level harder than you thought you could climb, and many were successful in achieving that goal. 

At the pool again on Thursday, we built on the skills acquired at the first session, tried some new drills, and even flipped upside-down to build Mr. Norman a bridge across the pool! T-rescues, which allow a paddler who has flipped to rescue him or herself using the bow of another boat, were the focus of this session. By the end, we had unprecedented success with the T-rescue drill, managing to get eight out of ten paddlers upright, with only two swimming!

Although these mainly indoor activities contradict our sport’s title, they lay the foundation for outdoor climbing and paddling…and we wouldn’t want it any other way: wet exits in the ocean in November are cold! 

Thank you to Mr. Norman and Mrs. Olszewski for making the beginning of Winter Term so much fun! I know everyone in ODP is looking forward to the rest of a great term of paddling, climbing, and hiking. 

Hannah R, Mackenzie ’18 

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