For members of Pierce College’s Climbing and Hiking Club, there’s nothing quite like the experience of the great outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.
President Cameron Curtis hopes to incorporate everything from a day hike in the mountains to outdoor climbing to overnight camp outs.
“(We want) to create a social circle of climbers and aspiring climbers at the school to facilitate their ability to actually get out into the mountains or go rock climbing,” Curtis said.
For Curtis, the outdoors has always been a passion and interest of his, but it wasn’t until his friend took him out rock climbing that he fell in love with it and began to develop his skill.
Curtis hopes to create the same support for the members of the club so that they will have others to stand by them and help them explore their passion for the outdoors.
“It’s being able to have someone guide you and hold your hand or just doing really simple things like a really simple mountain maybe out by Mt. Rainer,” Curtis said. “The club would be a great way to facilitate getting people outside.”
The club formed last spring when several students expressed a common interest in hiking and climbing and petitioned for a group. Over the summer, the club asked English professor Lisa Hurtado to advise the group.
Although this year they’ve had few official meetings, Curtis hopes to use Facebook as a means of communication and organization for the club.
“We haven’t had a formal meeting,” Curtis said. “It’s a climbing club so we’re more about going out and actually climbing or hiking in the mountains.”
During fall quarter, the club only had one school-facilitated event, but the members went out frequently on informal hikes and backpacking and climbing trips.
Curtis hopes the Facebook page will become a place where any member can post their desire to go hiking or rock climbing that weekend and have people get together through that.
“Right now, it’s more informal for our actual trips. The school has some liability issues of us taking people out rock climbing without a guide,” Curtis said. “There will be some actual mountaineering and climbing trips but we’ll actually have to get the school to provide a guide for the students to do these things.”
Despite the barrier with the school’s liability issues, according to Hurtado, they hope to plan at least one school-facilitated event per quarter.
The Facebook page, however, is the pathway to having more informal and frequent trips among the members.
To join the club, a student interested by no means has to have any experience in either hiking or climbing. Curtis hopes for the club to be a place where students can gain experience and be exposed to an outdoor lifestyle.
“We’ve taken somebody on one of our last hikes who had never been hiking before and that person had a great time,” Curtis said. “We’re never going to take somebody out somewhere they are incapable of doing. We’re not going to take someone else beyond their depth.”
The club also welcomes those who already have been immersed in climbing and hiking and hopes they share their experiences.
“I hope to meet other people who have gone out and have them voice their expertise as well,” Curtis said. “I’ve had a couple mentors who have held my hand through outdoor rock climbing trips and another who helped me get into the mountains.”
No special equipment is needed for members to join. Student funds will cover the cost of special climbing and hiking equipment when needed.
Curtis, however, strongly recommends members to have a sturdy, waterproof pair of hiking boots.
Since it’s the winter season, even going on a short day hike can result in snow.
“A good pair of boots is really going to help you out but beyond that, the school said they will provide rental equipment,” Curtis said.
The club hopes for its numbers to expand after the club showcase this quarter and with further promotions Curtis and his Co-President Jordan Ruhle have yet to announce.
To become involved, contact Curtis at cameroncurtis
@gmail.com, Hurtado at LHurtado@pierce.ctc.edu or join the club’s Facebook group called, “Pierce College Climber’s Club” or may like their Facebook page. The first meeting of the quarter is Feb. 2 at 1:15 p.m. in the Connection Café in the College Center. Students from both Puyallup and Fort Steilacoom campuses are welcomed.
“It’s a very healthy lifestyle and it is something that a lot of people here in the Pacific Northwest are very in tune with. A lot of people don’t really know how to get out there,” Curtis said. “A lot of students have questions like how do I get into the mountains, how much does this stuff cost, where have you been and what can I actually do. I just hope to be able to answer as many questions as possible.”
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