Senior climbs and skis his way across America

Revere High School senior Anthony Torma shares his talent of skiing and rock climbing.

Lily Oelschlager, Assistant Sports Editor and Assistant Art Editor

When the snow melted off the ski slopes one spring, Anthony Torma, then a middle schooler, needed something else to do. He found his way to a climbing gym in Peninsula, Ohio and began to learn the skill that would change his life: rock climbing. 

Now a senior, Torma has been an outdoorsman nearly all his life, learning to ski in second grade before picking up climbing in middle school. He’s visited more than ten national parks all across America, sometimes in the company of parents and his best friend, Sam Gill. Both sports have had a great impact on Torma, helping him build vital confidence and character. His travels across America have gifted him with a wealth of knowledge and stories.

“It was not right sitting inside,” Torma said about the three-quarters of the year in which he could not ski. To fill the void, he found his way to a climbing gym in Peninsula, but initially struggled with confidence. 

“I had overcome my social anxiety first,” Torma said, before he could ask the gym employees for helpful guidance. He assigns a great deal of credit to climbing for helping him conquer his anxiety. His father, Donald “Don” Torma, asserts that both skiing and climbing have “given Anthony great confidence . . . and helped him grow as a person,” D. Torma said. D. Torma discussed some of his and Anthony’s early trips together. When Anthony was younger, they “took two trips out west. . . hiking and camping in all the national parks… [we] visited at least 15 of the parks.” D. Torma said. 

A former geology teacher at Kenston High School, D. Torma and his wife have helped organize and run the Kenston Field Experience, an event Torma says impacted him greatly. 

“I wish Revere would look into running a similar trip because it has really changed and impacted the student participants,” It is a “three to four week long high school field camp where the students travel out west and learn all about the geology of the national parks. It is patterned after a college geology field camp, except for high school students.” D. Torma said. 

“It’s about ten students and three adults,” Torma said of the trip’s participants. 

He “tagged along [on the KFE] with [his] cousin, the only kid [he] knew” at the onset of the trip, Torma said. 

“Notes, journals [and] labs” were all part of the trip, Torma said, as they would be in a normal science course. Participants had various other duties, including preparing dinner and cleaning the bus. At the conclusion of the trip, he had “made so many new friends with whom [he is] still in touch,” Torma said. 

Among the parks visited on the KFE were Yellowstone, Teton, the Rocky Mountains, Arches, and Zion. His favorite: “Arches, for sure,” Torma said. 

The “Dewey Bridge sandstone at Arches, the ferns in Olympic rainforest, and the Black and Grizzly bears,” Torma said, are his favorite types of rock, plant, and animal he has encountered on his travels. 

Torma also enjoys more local sites for climbing. He did a great deal of his early climbing at Whipps ledges in Hinckley with his best friend and fellow Revere High School Student Sam Gill. Both Torma and Gill cite Gill’s father and other older climbers as an important influence on their skills. 

“We have much to learn from older climbers,” Gill said. “Climbing is a dangerous sport, and it is necessary to learn how to be safe in doing it.” His climbing group, which includes Torma, “is very lucky to learn in person from older climbers…not just [by] look[ing] at our phones.” Gill said. Having learned together, Gill and Torma “trust each other to check our work.” Gill is “glad to have in [Torma] someone to check my knots . . . anchors.” 

“It brings me closer to…extremes,” Torma said. Both he and Gill have an immense appreciation for nature. Climbing and skiing are “as close as you get to…[these] spectacles and incredibilities,” Torma said. He also enjoys the personal challenge that comes with both sports. He explained, “you can touch the mountain and ascend. It’s like staring down the end of a gun barrel,” Torma said. Gill shared his appreciation of  “the sights, the smells, the sounds…I love the beauty of nature…the smell of the pines, juniper, ferns…beautiful sounds [like] the woodthrush,” Gill said. “Nature is calming…[I] enjoy its solitude,” Gill said. 

“Passive at the moment, but wanting to get more involved,” Torma said of his environmental activism. He and Gill also share a desire to preserve the environment. They both mentioned the erosion of rock formations due to human traffic. 

“People have to rappel down to the bolts; this erodes the top of the climb and makes it dirty,” Gill said. Torma also explained the action he is taking against the effects of climate change. Wanting to reduce his carbon footprint, Torma has stopped using ski lifts, but has instead invested in special boots that enable him to climb back up the hill on foot. Though physically harder, he does it “with a smile on [his] face…knowing [he] personally won’t contribute as much.” Torma said. 

Torma wishes to pursue geology as a career.

“Maybe something that combines geology and writing,” Torma said, mentioning his enjoyment of his AP English classes.

“[I’m] excited about Anthony’s interest in college geology…but more [importantly] I am thrilled with Anthony’s overall interest in learning,” D. Torma said. He also “hope[s] more young people will…pursue outdoor education…camping, skiing, hiking, and climbing are great ways to build personal character,” D. Torma said. 

Torma is grateful for his time in nature and all it has taught him, the most important lessons he has learned.