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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Senior Mag 2023: Samantha Stoiber revives rock climbing pastime, encourages friends to join in

With the worst of the college application process over, many seniors have had time in the second semester to explore their bucket list of passions. Samantha Stoiber is no exception: She resumed her rock climbing pursuits, spending roughly two hours daily at a local rock climbing gym both as a means of improving her fitness and as a way to foster closer relationships with her peers.  

Samantha tried rock climbing for the first time in 8th grade. Back then, she did not think of the activity as anything special. And with the pandemic, marching band and academics swamping her from eighth grade to junior year, Samantha lost touch with the sport. Then came the chance to explore it again. 

“What rock climbing is really about, for me, is collaborating with others to complete the course, whether it be through testing oneself physically or mentally,” Samantha said.

Samantha bought a monthly membership at her rock climbing gym during her junior year, and went three to four times a week. With her adventures piquing the curiosity of various classmates, Samantha began bringing a group of friends, including seniors Anthony Wong and Cameron Sy. She has brought a variety of other friends in recent days as well. 

“They usually come with a sense of intrigue, and are unsure what to expect,” Samantha said. “Sometimes, my friends who have never been to the rock climbing gym before think they are in for a super intense experience, which in my opinion is completely wrong.” 

Though many students are unfamiliar with rock climbing, Samantha has demonstrated to many of her classmates that a couple of hours in a rock climbing gym is an enjoyable and fulfilling experience. Additionally, with the academic stress that junior year and the first semester of senior year provided, rock climbing was Samantha’s way of supplementing constant chaos with a sense of serenity.

“It wasn’t really until junior year that rock climbing became both a way to manage high school stress and have fun, but it’s definitely an outlet now for relieving anything I might be worried about,” Samantha said. “People at the rock climbing gym are always positive and focused on figuring out how to climb different walls. That collaboration was something I didn’t see as often in school.” 

Samantha said problem-solving through collaboration is her favorite aspect of the sport. Collaborative efforts on the various paths she climbs helps her build a closer bond with classmates, she said.

Those who have accompanied Samantha on her rock climbing expeditions have had overwhelmingly positive remarks about the sport, both in terms of its natural entertainment as well as the intangibles it forces participants to cultivate, such as collaboration, communication and teamwork. 

Cameron Sy and Anthony Wong called their experiences with rock climbing “awesome”; despite no prior experience with the sport, they were able to grasp it relatively easily. 

“With an understandable end state, which means completing the course, we were able to both scheme how we’d achieve it and also push ourselves to execute that completion to the best of our abilities, which was a nice test for both our minds and bodies,” Anthony said.

Sy followed this up by elaborating, “My favorite part of rock climbing is how it fuses detailed planning with an overwhelmingly satisfying activity. After all, moving from one rock to another elicits a clear sense of completion and direction. It also concretizes that we’re progressing, which contributes to the overwhelming positive vibes that climbing has.”

Samantha has brought many peers to the gym in recent weeks. With Sy and Wong being just a couple who have had the pleasure of experiencing a couple hours in the rock climbing gym, Samantha said she believes the sport can grow significantly, particularly on campus.

 The benefits and enjoyment participants can derive from rock climbing are innumerable, Samantha noted. With it serving as an enjoyable way to exercise, an obvious means for collaboration and a clear mechanism for getting to know her classmates better, Samantha said that she will not be putting a pause on her rock climbing pursuits any time soon.

“Even though I might be leaving Saratoga and this group of people in a couple months, I’m definitely going to continue rock climbing in college,” Samantha said. “There’s a bunch of mountains in Washington — maybe a couple more months in the climbing gyms can put me in a position to scale one of those!”

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