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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Senior Mag 2024: Learning to climb, one boulder at a time

Wesley Deklich
Weasel Decklich belaying up at Movement Climbing.

Inspired after seeing rock climbers at hiking spots on Skyline trail and in Yosemite, Wesley Deklich decided to do something he had never done before: start rock climbing as a sport. In the two years since, Wesley has skyrocketed the climbing ranks: He now consistently climbs boulders at V4 or even V5 difficulty, involving paths which require him to use fingertip strength to pull himself up. This level uses the Vermin Scale for bouldering difficulty, where he climbs up small artificial rocks without the use of ropes, with many of Wesley’s climbs requiring the use of momentum and dynamic movement.

With a body build similar to the tall and slender French basketball star Victor Wembanyama, Wesley utilizes his long arms and light weight to scale boulders like a spider. His frequent trips to the climbing gym have also helped him greatly improve his forearm and fingertip strength. Strengthening these muscles have allowed him to scale more difficult courses. 

Even so, he and many others often get out-climbed by 10-year-olds due to their small size and “infinite” grip-to-weight ratio that can’t be beat by older climbers, Wesley said.

“It definitely takes a lot of back strength as well as finger and forearm strength,” he said. “I learned how to rock climb just by going and seeing what other people were doing.”

Wesley has also taken a belaying class to climb taller rock faces at Movement, a class where he learned how to tie a belaying rope and safely belay another person.

When going climbing with an experienced friend such as his brother, Wesley often enjoys the company as it allows him to have a belaying partner and climb with the use of ropes. If he is going alone or with people who aren’t as experienced, he often finds himself spending most of his time only bouldering.

Although rope climbing involves scaling a much higher distance up a wall, Wesley said he rarely finds himself running out of energy. 

“You kind of rest at certain spots along the way when roping so in a way, it’s kind of actually easier than if you’re just on the border,” Wesley said. “You can’t really rest if you’re just on the short border because you’ll just fall down.”

When he is bouldering, however, Wesley prefers dynamic courses that require him to jump from rock to rock, giving him a boost of adrenaline every time.

He plans on continuing to rock climb in college.

“Almost all colleges have some kind of climbing team, but I’m not sure how competitive I want to be,” Wesley said. “For me, it is more so just a hobby. I enjoy it as an alternative form of exercise that is also extremely fun.”

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