Ramstein Outdoor Recreation climbs, ‘cleans up’

Tim Brennan
435th Services Squadron

***image1***KMC members gathered Saturday for an afternoon of climbing and litter pickup to commemorate Earth Day 2004.
The 435th Services Ramstein Outdoor Recreation coordinated the event, which was led by facility director Eli Whitman.
This free, Project CHEER event began with an hour long hunt for litter around the area near Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. Armed with a trash bag, each participant was assigned an area to cover. “We wanted to give back to the local climbing area through this small token of community service,” said Whitman. “We felt as if we owed something to the (climbing) area after having visited it so frequently.”
Following the trash pick up, Whitman presented a two-and-a-half hour instructional course on “top roping,” a style of climbing considered safer for beginner climbers. “I view safety as probably the most important element in making preparations for a climb,” Whitman explained, “which is why I chose to stress the positive qualities of top roping.”
Whitman explained at the start of the course that “top roping is better for beginners because the rope is already set on the face (of the rock), as opposed to ‘lead climbing’, where the climber is subject to a more dynamic fall.”
After the instruction, participants were given the chance to practice what they had been taught. Jack Farrell, a civilian employee on Ramstein, was one of the first participants to take to the wall. “I’ve been interested in climbing for years, but never really had the time to get started. But, today’s event has given me the chance to learn the basics as well as clean up the environment,” Farrell said.
Farrell leapt on to the wall and put his training into action, much to the delight of Whitman. “I always jump at the chance to get someone else involved with climbing,” Whitman beamed.
The Earth Day climb was part of a series of climbs organized by the 435th Services Squadron’s Ramstein Outdoor Recreation’s Ubersteigen Climbing Club. The club has a Web site located at http://groups.msn.com/ubersteigenclimbingclub. For more information on Outdoor Recreation trips, call 480-5705 or stop by their facility located at Ramstein next to MOMS and Gear Up.