The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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July 20, 2013

Straight up, on The Rocks

THE SUMMIT —  Located in Adventure Valley, Scouts lined up at The Rocks, the largest man-made outdoor climbing facility in the world, for climbing, rappelling and bouldering.

Most West Virginians are familiar with climbing and rappelling, but bouldering is a type of rock climbing that is performed without ropes or a harness.

David Little, climbing manager, said climbers basically climb the edges of a large boulder and try to reach the top.

Scouts will be allowed to climb bigger boulders based on their height and their experience level, and safety is always the first priority at The Rocks.

Each of the staff members there is trained to check Scout equipment, gear and helmet fit.

Bouldering is done on the ground level, and climbing starts there as well, but if Scouts are rappelling, they first have to ascend a flight of stairs to be strapped in for their ride down.

Little explained that the rope system is 100 percent secure; even if Scouts don’t hold on to the rope, they will simply glide down to the bottom, but by holding the rope and pushing off against the rocks, the Scouts will get a better feel for rappelling.

In the initial planning phases, Little said the Scout leaders were planning on taking them to New River Gorge to climb there, but they decided it was too far away.

“So, we decided to bring New River Gorge to the Scouts,” Little said.

He said the wall climbing manufacturer, El Dorado, built the wall from scratch and even painted the concrete surface to match the colors of the natural rocks found in West Virginia.

At The Rocks, Scouts can find 125 climbing stations, 100 bouldering stations and 42 rappelling stations.

All levels of climbers, from beginners to experts, could find something thrilling.

Scouts are definitely living up to this year’s Jamboree theme — “Go Big and Get Wild.”

— E-mail: wholdren@register-herald.com

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