Students reach new heights with rock climbing


Joe Earl

Passalaqua completes his route.

With cheering and encouragement all around him, senior Kyle Davis knows he can do it. He starts quickly, having planned his route many times before, purposefully placing his limbs exactly where he wants them. This project, an orange V6, had taken him a while, but he finally made it to the top. 

While many may be unfamiliar with some of the vocabulary and terms in the previous paragraph, a growing group of Revere students can relate to Davis’ experience. These students have taken up rock climbing, or more specifically, bouldering. 

When most people think of rock climbing, they think of high walls with multiple people strapped up with harnesses for safety. While this form of climbing, called “sport climbing,” makes up a great deal of the sport, bouldering represents a lesser known (by the general public) discipline in the sport. Bouldering requires no ropes and relies heavily on sheer strength rather than the endurance required for sport climbing. 

Sophomore Carl Selig, who just recently picked up climbing at the start of the school year, explained what the average bouldering route looks like. 

“You’re climbing a wall that could go up to around fifteen feet. [They have] huge mats at the bottom [so] you can drop down at any time, [and] there are holds to help get you down if you’re scared [of dropping directly down],” he said. 

A great benefit of bouldering comes from the variety of courses at a climbing gym, varying in difficulty. The most common gym Revere students use, Rock Mill, located in Akron, often changes the preset routes on the wall to keep the experience fresh. 

“They do a really good job at switching it up so you don’t get bored. It depends on the route, but [they] stay up for around three weeks… [The difficulty rating is labeled as] ‘V,’ and there’s different levels of V. [The] easiest [level offered at the gym] is V0 [and goes] all the way up to V9,” he said. 

Davis got into climbing when classmate and friend Aiden Passalaqua invited him to Rock Mill, and he has not looked back since.

“I really liked my first time. They have easier routes to do, if you’re newer, [but] it ramps up very quickly. You progress very fast when you’re new to it, so it’s really fun to see your progress,” Davis said. 

Davis recently injured his wrist, but climbing stays on his mind, planning what he wants to accomplish next.

“I’m trying to get this one V5 orange. And I want to get all of the blues in the gym, which are V5s,” he said. 

Greyson Biddle has tried both sport climbing and bouldering, having recently gone to Shaker Rocks to try out sport climbing. Still preferring bouldering, he explained how the multiple approaches to boulder climbing accommodates different physiques.

“Aiden is a more technical climber, so it’s more about the skill for him, but for me, I usually use brute strength to get through the routes, it’s not really about brains… If you have a fair mix of both (strength and technique), that’s when you’ll really become a good climber,” Biddle said. 

Each bouldering route averages at around 30-40 seconds, but using the correct form and path can often make a climb go quicker and more effortlessly. The most effective way to tackle a route is labeled as a beta in climbing. 

Davis, Selig and Biddle all praised the social atmosphere at Rock Mill. Biddle elaborated on what makes it so special. 

“It’s incredible [and] super supportive. Everyone teaches you how to do stuff when you can’t figure it out. Complete strangers give you high fives all the time. It’s a super welcoming atmosphere, I really like it there. I go by myself all the time and people are super friendly, people that I’ve never seen in the gym before,” Biddle said

Biddle encourages every Revere student to try climbing. 

“If you’re interested in climbing, let me know, because I am a member, and I can get you in for free your first time. I will literally take anybody,” Biddle said.

The inclusive and growing Revere group of climbers, most of whom just recently picked up bouldering, continue to attend Rock Mill weekly despite the introduction of spring sports. 


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