By Jane Carter
Clinging to the side of a rock face hundreds of feet off the ground may seem dangerous, but for members of Y-Rocks, BYU”s rock-climbing club, it”s both a challenge and a thrill.
“Climbing is more than getting to the top. You learn how to fall without getting hurt,” said Sonia Quiroga, a graduate student from Argentina and president of Y-Rocks. “It”s more about falling and getting frustrated and not giving up.”
For Quiroga, rock climbing is both physical and mental.
“Rock climbing helps me to find myself and helps me build self-confidence,” Quiroga said. “There is a problem that to have to solve every time you go.”
Jan Robertson, a sophomore from Cody, Wyo., majoring in recreation management, said everytime she goes rock climbing she has to figure out a way to put her hands and body to get her to the top.
“Climbing is something where you can block out everything and your sole focus is on your next move,” said Ty Corbridge, a BYU graduate from Salt Lake City. “It”s the only thing you think of. It”s just a way of stress relief and to enjoy the outdoors and be with friends.”
Corbridge was a founding member of Y-Rock in 1999.
“I had a couple of roommates that I climbed with,” Corbridge said. “The whole purpose of the club was to meet more people in Utah County who climbed, so we didn”t have to go to Salt Lake.”
Members of Y-Rocks climb in local gyms and take advantage of popular rock climbing spots such as Rock Canyon.
“There are a lot of differences,” Robertson said. “When you are on the real rock, you don”t have a specific route. It”s like solving problems. Every route has a problem in it you have to solve.”
Although rock climbing is physically challenging, that shouldn”t be a deterrent for people who want to learn to climb, Quiroga said.
“The thing that stops a lot of people from coming to Y-Rocks is they think you have to be in really great shape, or a good climber, but that is not the case,” Quiroga said. “I have even helped someone climb that had a hard time walking before. Anyone can do it.”
Corbridge said rock climbing is not very dangerous, although Quiroga has already suffered a number of injuries, including broken vertebrae and a torn ACL.
“I think the public perceives it of it as a lot more dangerous than it really is, especially my mom,” Corbridge said.
Corbridge did admit, however, that the experience has its down moments.
“The worst feeling ever is being several feet above your placement and you don”t have very much confidence in what you”ve placed below you. You”re in a precarious position where you feel you might fall. That feeling of right before you actually fall, it can sometimes be petrifying,” he said.
Corbridge said thinking you will fall and making it is one of the reasons he climbs.
“Initially it was the challenge of it, being able to find something where you can progress upward and find more things that are challenging,” Corbridge said. “A lot of times it”s just the adrenaline rush, getting in certain positions where you think you”re going to fall, and may be in over your head and being able to finish that move.”
“I just love being up there. I love being in the mountains, on a face, trying to conquer it,” she said.
Quiroga took over as president of Y-Rocks last year and said turned the club around.
“For years I was a member of Y-Rocks and it was dead,” she said.
But Quiroga said dead is no longer a good way to describe the club. Quiroga said that more than 50 people turned up for a recent activity, and the number of girls in the club is increasing.
Y-Rocks has doubled its recent activities, meeting every other Tuesday at The Quarry. The club will also start having climbing for beginners every other Thursday at a ropes gym in Orem.