Sometimes here at Rockbrook, there is so much going on, it can be hard to choose between all the offerings. I often hear campers deliberating whether to sign up for trips, or to stay at camp to enjoy all the activities here.
This morning, while a daring group of young ladies was heading down to the lake to take a special early morning “Polar Bear Plunge” into Rockbrook’s chilly waters, girls were packing out for an overnight rafting trip, kayakers were preparing to try their paddles on the white waters of the Green River, and a van was driving off camp for a climbing trip to Looking Glass Rock. Rockbrook girls were having to choose between all these fabulous opportunities before the girls had even eaten breakfast! The best part about camp is that no matter which experience a girl chooses each day, whether wet or dry, on camp or off, scheduled or spontaneous, it is sure to offer her a fun chance to challenge herself, to make new friends, and provide her with a new story to share about her adventure.
Today’s group of devoted young climbers rose before the rising bell, ate a quick breakfast, packed lunch and climbing gear into back packs, and drove off to Looking Glass Rock. This group of six campers—all of whom already had a chance to climb Rockbrook’s own Alpine Tower, climbing wall, and live rock-face, Castle Rock—traveled into the Pisgah National Forest with three climbing staff to test their growing skills on another natural rock.
Looking Glass Rock, is a local monolith just shy of 4000 ft in elevation that hosts a wonderful variety of climbs, accessible to many skill levels. Well earning its name, Looking Glass is a massive granite rock jutting out of the valley floor whose many reflective faces offer climbers dozens of multi-pitch, free bouldering, and top-roping routes. After a brisk hike up the mountain from the parking area, we arrived to the rock face to find it was an exceptionally quiet morning for Looking Glass. We had the pick of the mountain.
Adventure Director, Clyde Carter, and climbing counselor Rita Keil, deftly scrambled up to set up an anchor on a pair of climbs well suited for today’s group. They set two routes that exposed the girls to different qualities of rock, challenged their skill level, and offered opportunities for success. After everyone had the chance to climb both routes, we moved anchor to try another part of the rock. These climbs were a little more challenging, inviting the girls to explore the limits of their skill and stamina. One of the important things about trying new things at Rockbrook is that we provide a great place for girls to safely push themselves. We create the environment to give them the confidence to try new things, and cultivate the knowledge that even if they are not able to reach the top today, they have reached new heights. At the end of the day, everyone feels good about their own experience, is inspired and supported by those around around them, and is granted the gift of a stunning and well earned view. If you stand on the hill at Rockbrook, you can look across the valley and see Looking Glass glinting in the sunlight. What fun for this group of veteran climbers to now come back to camp, look across the valley and get to say, “I climbed that!“