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KOA presents belaying opportunity

March 7, 2014

Once a semester, Kinni Outdoor Adventures (KOA) offers a free two-hour belay school for students, faculty, alumni and community members who are interested in learning how to belay.

Belaying is where a rope is attached to something secure, in this case a person, so that the rock climber does not fall very far if they were to slip. It is managing the rope of a climber in a safe and proper way.

Jake Kooiman is climbing the wall in the Knowles Center while two other students are belaying him during the PED 109 Introduction to Recreational Climing course.
Kinni Outdoor Adventures (KOA) offers variety of belaying opportunites. One of these many opportunities is a free two-hour belaying class that is intended to teach students, alumni and other members of the River Falls community the fundamentals of belaying. Jake Kooiman is climbing the wall in the Knowles Center while two other students are belaying him during the PED 109 Introduction to Recreational Climing course. This course is another opportunity students are afforded to learn belaying. (Desi Danforth/Student Voice)

The staff trains interested people all of the basic safety that goes along with belaying, as well as technique. Participants will have a chance to practice during the two-hour time slot and then are able to come back after 24 hours to be assessed and test out on their belay skills.

“Unless someone is certified to belay by our Kinni Outdoor Adventures staff, they are not able to belay at our climbing wall,” said Tiffany Gaulke, the assistant director of recreation.

Rebecca Gruening, recent graduate of UWRiver Falls, worked for KOA and at the climbing wall for three years. While working with KOA she started out as a belayer and a student worker in the rental center and occasionally helped lead day trips. During her last year with KOA she was the student coordinator, where she was still working at the climbing wall leading trips and working in the rental center, as well as working on promotion for KOA and other tasks. As for the belay school specifics, she helped teaching it for two years.

“It is beneficial for students who are interested in rock climbing because it offers them training in one of the ways one can belay,” Gruening said. “Also they get to meet other students who share the same interests and can create a new friends group.”

There are so many benefits from attending the belay school, some of those being solo belaying at the UWRF climbing wall, having the skills and technique to perform at other gyms, more knowledge on the sport of climbing, the equipment used in climbing, also other random things about climbing.

“If you are someone who is interested in rock climbing I highly recommend the belay school. The KOA staff is very knowledgeable in the sport, along with other sports, and are very friendly people who have pretty awesome stories they are willing to share,” Gruening said.

Gaulke said that UWRF students have a chance to become belay certified by also taking the PED 109 Introduction to Recreational Climbing Class offered by Health and Human Performance (HHP). This eight-week class typically has 70 students in it over the course of the semester. Upon completion, these students are allowed to belay at the KOA climbing wall during open climbing sessions or Climbing Sport Club sessions.

Open climb is offered three times a week and club climb two times a week. For more information about the climbing wall, belay school or any other outdoor activities and opportunities offered through KOA, visit the recreation and Sports Facilities page through the UWRF website or by calling 715-425- 4289. Knowles is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.