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Sunday, November 2, 2008

Contributing writer Lauren Ennis took a walk on the wild side with Outdoor Adventure.

Whatever climate we have there are ways for adventures.

Outdoor Adventure boasts several weekend escapades that are sure to spark outdoor enthusiasts’ attention, including a highly anticipated ice climb.

“The trips are a great way for students to get to know each other and also learn to cook, learn first aid and take care of one another,” said Outdoor Adventure coordinator Scott Jordan.

Since the late 1970s, Outdoor Adventure has been hosting nature-oriented trips on the weekends and during breaks from school.

Small groups, usually consisting of eight to 10 people, travel to various parts of the United States to participate in these ventures.

Although the Outdoor Adventure group has gone on several trips this semester, it still has ice climbing, skiing, rock climbing, kayaking and backpacking trips planned.

“I go on as many trips as I can,” said Pat Lewis, graduate assistant and trips coordinator at Outdoor Adventure. “There are two trips I’m psyched about, the ice climbing trip over winter break and the ski trip to Red River during Martin Luther King Day.”

During the ice climbing trip, planned for Jan. 6-10, Outdoor Adventure will work with Adams State College in Alamosa, Colo. for a two-day guided climb, and then ski at Wolf Creek on the third day.

“Adams State has permits to climb in the Rio Grande National Forest,” Lewis said. “We get to climb with the help of their resources and guides.”

Trip leaders go on each trip and are trained using Basic Outdoor Leadership Training.

“We use a lot of their curriculum in our training,” Lewis said.

The trip leaders are trained in specific outdoor aspects.

John Gilliland, graduate assistant in charge of the climbing wall and also a trip leader, is trained in rock climbing and has been with Outdoor Adventure since 2003.

“I’ve been on roughly eight trips, all weekend climbing trips and one backpacking trip,” Gilliland said.

Gilliland said he hasn’t ever been ice climbing but has spent lots of time outside and in the snow.

“I learned to ski at age 7 and have been on roughly 19 ski trips,” Gilliland said.

Although Gilliland has never been ice climbing, he said the rope and safety systems for rock and ice climbing are almost identical, except picks are used for ice climbing rather than just your hands.

For those more interested in warm-weather activities, Outdoor Adventure offers those as well.

Jordan, who has been the Outdoor Adventure coordinator for more than six years, mentioned a sea kayaking trip in Baja, Calif., and a mountaineering trip at Olympic Peninsula as two notable past endeavors.

However, he said Escalante National Monument in Utah is his favorite.

“It’s the most remote area in the continental U.S. A desert area with beautiful arches and rock formations…awesome place,” Jordan said.


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