Horsethief Butte Climbing

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6th Graders Experience Real Rock for the First Time

Image previewSeveral 6th graders climbed outdoors on real rock for the first time this weekend, and they are hooked! We met in the Catlin Gabel theater lot Saturday morning, played a quick game of pirate tag to help students get to know each other, loaded up the bus, and set out for Horsethief Butte near Lyle, Washington.

After donning harnesses, helmets, and shoes, students learned to tie figure 8 knots and began climbing. One student after another made it to the top of the thirty-foot climb, and others challenged themselves with harder climbs and made it part-way up. Adults belayed in the beginning, and after getting the hang of climbing some students gave belaying a hand. We also set up a belayed rappel station, and many students tried it out for the first time!

We left the climbing area around 5:30 and drove east to Maryhill State Park. We set up tents, ate a big burrito dinner, made s’mores around the campfire, and played card games. Everyone went to bed by 10:00. It rained hard all night, but we slept soundly to the rhythm of the rain and stayed dry for the most part.

The group awoke to blue sky peeking between the windmills lining the cliffs above the Columbia River, and packed quickly on Sunday morning. We ate a breakfast of Spam, muffins, bagels and cream cheese, and bananas. We then went to check out the Maryhill Stonehenge replica, and then drove back across the Columbia to Oregon to do the four-mile hike to Elowah Falls and Upper McCord Creek Falls. Students stood in the mist of the falls after hiking through lush green ferns and Northwest forest. We stopped for a picnic lunch at Ainsworth State Park, and returned to campus mid-afternoon, tired but feeling so refreshed!