A lot of high school students spend their free time playing sports, but few have found hobbies as interesting as Rye High senior Anna Norman, who enjoys rock climbing.
By Miranda van Dijk
A lot of high school students spend their free time playing sports, but few have found hobbies as interesting as Rye High senior Anna Norman, who enjoys rock climbing. Norman has been rock climbing since she was 10, when her middle school class went on a field trip to The Rock Club in New Rochelle. It was love at first climb, and she was soon spending her weekends climbing.
For a few years, Norman attended a camp where she learned to belay, by using a rope and harness to support another climber. At age 15, she applied for a position as a belayer at The Rock Club and landed it.
Norman describes her job as “encouraging and instructing people who are on the wall. A lot of them are children, and it’s wonderful to see them overcome their fears.”
Every day that Norman works she dedicates a certain amount of time for climbing of her own. She often spends that time bouldering, a form of rock climbing without a rope that takes place on lower walls and focuses more on increasing strength and ability.
“You can always improve,” Norman says. “There will never be a time when I stop trying to become a better climber.”
She adds, “When you reach the top, you can look down and see your accomplishment laid out in front of you. There aren’t a lot of sports where you can do that.”
Last summer, Norman spent three weeks on a multisport trip in Nevada, Utah, and California. One of the main focuses of the trip was wilderness rock climbing. While on the trip, she got the chance to teach her friends about belaying and climbing. She was also able to experience climbing in a new way. “Being outdoors is a really different way to climb,” she explains. “There are no hand holds or tape to show you the way. You just have to use the wall.”
Getting to the top of a wall in a natural setting is a memory that Norman cherishes. “I was in the middle of a Utah desert and I sat on this wall and thought, ‘This is what it’s like to be at the top of the world.’”
While she allows that her hobby is unusual, she encourages others to get involved. “Climbing is one of the best things I’ve ever done.”
In the future, Norman would love to travel and climb in more exotic places. “There are so many amazing places where I hope to climb.”