Rock Climbing at BU

In an interview, I was once asked how rock climbing has made me more prepared as a lawyer.  I have no idea what I said, and I really don’t like that question.  The truth is that, for me, rock climbing and the law represent two separate worlds, and that’s the way it should be.  Every law student needs an escape from the law.  Mine is climbing.  It’s an opportunity to completely disconnect from the whole lawyer freak-out fest, and to meet people studying in other fields or, in other cases, not studying anything at all.

CIMG1917 (Me on a steep route in Somaén, Spain)

The most effective method to battle stress in law school is to exercise, and my exercise of choice is rock climbing.  Luckily, with New Hampshire not far off, and with many excellent climbing gyms in the city, I’ve been able to keep up with the sport despite the rigors of legal studies.  Born and raised in flat, mountain-less Michigan, New England was my climbing dream.  Knowing full well that there are other climbers and people interested in the sport considering the plunge into law school, I wanted to take a moment to elaborate on what Boston has to offer.

CIMG2044 (View of Cannon Cliff, NH from the parking lot before a climb)

First, at the heart of BU’s stunning Fitrec facility is a full-blown bouldering and roped rock climbing wall, the funds for which were donated by Christopher Barreca (LAW ’53) and Alice Barreca (SAR ’53).  For no additional cost, anyone can drop in and boulder (climbing close to the ground without a harness, which is more fun than it sounds).  And, If you already know how to belay and tie your figure eight knot, you can start up the roped wall right after a quick check by the Fitrec staff.  If you’ve no clue what any of that means, you can schedule a private lesson to learn the ropes firsthand (pun intended).  Having worked as a climbing instructor in the past, I can tell you that the lessons are really fun as well as an excellent way to take the edge off law school while learning easy-to-grasp, technical skills to be safe on the rock.  On average, an independent climbing gym membership will run you around $400-500 per year.  At Fitrec, you can get your climbing fix any time during the wall’s open hours.

If you work out at Fitrec and have passed by the climbing wall a number of times, stop in!  Like most climbing facilities, the Barreca climbing wall offers series of taped bouldering and roped routes marked with varied difficulty ratings.  After getting the hang of the basic technique,  follow these marked routes to measure your progress as you climb.  It is surprising the level of difficulty you can reach if you go climbing just once a week.

20140110_175704 (Fitrec’s climbing wall)

The outdoor climbing is really what sets Boston apart from other places in New England to study law.  In a little over an hour, you can reach Mt. Rumney for world-class bouldering and sport climbing.  For traditional climbing adventures, the white mountains offer bold alpine-style ascents without Colorado altitudes. Most climbs can be completed comfortably in an afternoon, making it a perfect weekend escape for the stressed out law student.

CIMG2050

(The long and winding road to Cannon Cliff, NH taken halfway up our climb on the Whitney Gilman Ridge)

CIMG1362

(My friend and I in NH on Whitehorse’s “Lunch Ledge.”  Despite our efforts to pack light, I forgot to remove a bottle of Frank’s Hot Sauce (a camping food staple) from my backpack’s bottle holder. You can see Cathedral Ledge, another scenic climbing area, in the background)

If you’re interested in climbing, Boston University has a lot to offer.  If you’re already here studying, stop by the Fitrec wall, and give climbing a try! Say hi to me if you make it in!

P.S. I wanted to provide some links with more information about the rock wall and climbing lessons:

General: http://www.bu.edu/fitrec/programs/climbing/

Non-Credit Classes: http://www.bu.edu/fitrec/programs/noncredit/climbing.shtml

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