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Belay Clinic anchors students

By Chelsea L. McDowell


It was a cold Tuesday morning in Bakersfield, when three students found themselves tied to The Rock in the Student Recreation Center.

CSU Bakersfield offered a Belay Clinic to anyone interested, on the condition that he or she had a membership to the SRC.

Marshall McArthur, CSUB’s outdoor adventures coordinator and experiential education, said belaying essentially means to “hold fast.”

“When you are climbing, there is a person on the other end that is controlling the rope, how much slack you have, to keep you safe,” McArthur said. “So as you are climbing up they are taking the slack that is being put into the rope, out of the rope, so they are keeping you tight on the rope, so if you were to fall they would catch you.”

While there is neither a certification nor credit to be gained, the Belay Clinics allow advancement of climbing ability along with the assurance that students conquering The Rock are kept safe.

Senior engineering major Paola Pantoja was looking forward to learning about safety and belaying the right way, while she experienced something new.

“I started rock climbing because of my boyfriend. He basically taught me everything I know right now and I really liked climbing so I wanted to learn more about it,” Pantoja said.

The Belay Clinic was training for students who wanted to develop their skills in climbing indoors as well as outdoors.

The clinic is taught by the SRC staff, who begin with the basics, such as the proper way to tie the knot on the rope.

Belaying consists of three components: the belayer, the climber, and the wall.

“It’s a class, it’s a training,” McArthur said, “You don’t necessarily walk away with a certification. In our facility you have to go through the clinic. That’s going to give you all the information that you need to be able to belay someone. On top of that we give you a week, and then you would test out.” 

The Belay Clinic gives the opportunity to students to learn a new way to be active, and that knowledge can be applied beyond the SRC in the great outdoors.

“Just being able to pick somebody up and help them climb, I really like that, because I like it when somebody belays me,” said Pantoja.

Alejandra Ruiz is a first-year kinesiology major who is going on a trip with her father to their hometown in Mexico. While there, she is planning to rock climb, and hoping to be able to put into practice all that she learned from the Belay Clinic.

“Part of my major is physical activity, so I hope to be more encouraged to come out here and join students from CSUB to help them belay and to encourage myself to come out here and participate in rock climbing more often,” said Ruiz.

The Belay Clinic test day dates and times can be viewed at in the Student Recreation Center section. Only nine people are allowed to take the clinic at once, to ensure a more personal learning process.

“Registration is easy, just stop by the Rock desk or the member services desk and a staff member can help sign you up,” writes.

The clinics are held once a month for the Spring 2018 academic semester, and are apart of an ongoing program.

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