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Film inspires formation of Climbing Club

Teens have been known to attempt to mimic adventurous and sometimes foolish things after viewing them on YouTube and in feature films. A group of seniors recently were inspired by the documentary film Free Solo, about a man’s attempt to climb the vertical formation El Capitan in Yosemite National Park without climbing harnesses. Rather than attempting to climb local rock formations, seniors Bryce Drury, Joe Denis, and Harry Green founded the PHS Climbing Club in order to better afford a membership to Climb Nulu, a climbing gym in Louisville.

After seeing the film, the boys visited the gym in early February and enjoyed climbing the artificial rock formations so much, they wanted a full-time membership. But the $59 per person monthly fee was too expensive. Instead of giving up, they asked if the gym had a reduced price for a school club. The gym worked with them to give them a more affordable price, and the next day, the boys approached Mr. Michael Loner and Ms. Stephanie LeBrun to help them form the club.

“We went on Sunday, Monday we talked to the teachers, by Wednesday, we had it mapped out, and by the end of the week, it was official,” Joe said.

The Climbing Club has about a dozen members, but Bryce, Joe, and Harry are the most consistent climbers. Bryce and Harry go about four or five times a week. The gym has more than 50 routes climbers can use and continually updates various sections so climbers can find new challenges.

Harry and Bryce said they have already progressed from level B0 to B4 in just three months. Even though they go several days a week, the variety of routes and the continual updates means every trip can be different.

“It never really gets stale,” Bryce said.

Joe agrees.

“You can never max out with your abilities,” Joe said. “There’s always something new.”

Those new routes mean there is always a new challenge, Harry said, and wanting to finish a new route keeps them coming back.

“It feels really good when you finish a hard climb or a hard route,” Harry said.

Bryce likes being able to climb with his friends as well as challenging himself to do more.

“It’s constantly about improving your skills and how good you are at climbing,” Bryce said.

The boys said working to form a school club and get a discount rate helped them learn to negotiate. They were able to reduce the rate by half and will be able to pay that rate through June.

They have come to enjoy climbing so much they hope to continue climbing next semester in college. Joe plans to attend Indiana University Bloomington, and Climb Nulu has a franchise in Bloomington. Bryce and Harry plan to attend Purdue University in West Lafayette and have already checked into climbing opportunities there. They also hope to climb a real rock formation one day and plan to make a trip to Red River Gorge in Kentucky when their skills are developed enough.

“We definitely want to keep climbing,” Bryce said. “It’s just fun.”

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