The triangle is applied to many different industries, mechanical and biological structures for added support or stability and even a lever. Follow me through this Study of Fundamentals and discover what you can apply to your next climbing route, training program, or class.
 
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``Once you're confident, you take more chances,'' Duncan said. "It teaches you to have faith in your life, faith in the rock, faith in the rope, faith in yourself."
 

Forward With Confidence

Story ran on April 13, 1994

When Amy Duncan describes her first rock climbing experience, she could very easily be explaining her first high school track and field competition.

``It's terrifying when you first go out there,'' the Hickman senior said. ``You're trying to cling to the rocks because you're afraid you're going to
fall away from them. You squeeze the rock so hard, it's like you're trying to squeeze water from it.

``But once you stop scrambling around and stop gluing yourself to the rock, once you get confident, you can practice moves and you see the whole rock face instead of just two feet in front of your face.'' 

Duncan thought about backing out of that first rock climbing expedition two years ago, just like she thought about backing out of the sectional track and field competition her freshman year.

``I was so scared,'' Duncan said of the track meet. ``I thought, `This is the big time, and all these other girls will see that I don't know what I'm
doing.' Each time I went out there, for districts and sectionals, I wanted to do my best but every time I made it I thought, `Here we go again.' ''

Now Duncan is taking her jumping talent -- the high jump, triple jump and long jump -- to another level, and these same feelings occurred while she weighed attending a big school against a small school, where she could've played more
than one sport.

This morning, with tears in her eyes, Duncan signed a letter of intent to compete for the University of Missouri, a school she never thought would want her.

``I didn't think I was Division I material,'' said Duncan, who also played softball and basketball but will stick with track at MU. ``I didn't think I could compete with the quality of athletes in the Big Eight.''

She has those same freshman fears that she'll look like she doesn't know what she's doing at the next level.

``I worry about being the little fish in the big sea, but then I could write a book about that: It doesn't bother me being the smallest fish, blah, blah,
blah,'' Duncan said. ``But the coaches at MU convinced me that I could compete.''

Through three seasons of state qualifying performances, Duncan is confident. Of course, there's always the rush of nerves before every competition, but she knows how to handle it.

``I'm thankful that I went to state that first year,'' Duncan said. ``I'll always have a little case of nerves, but I wouldn't be coming in with the attitude I have now.''

Duncan's best performances came at last year's state meet. She placed eighth in the triple jump, and she finished second in the high jump with a
school-record 5 feet, 7 inches.

The competition lasted an exhausting 21/2 hours. Duncan and Jefferson City senior Heather Fischer were the only competitors to clear 5-7. They both missed at 5-8, the state record, and because they had the same number of misses, in the same order, a jump-off ensued.

The girls were required to start at 5-8 and work their way down until one jumper cleared and one missed. Neither could clear the same jumps they had easily made earlier in the competition.

``It was blazing hot, our muscles were tired,'' Duncan said. Finally, though, both cleared 5-3. So they went back up an inch, where Duncan failed to match Fisher's jump.

``I didn't mind losing that much,'' Duncan said. ``It gives me something to work for this year.''

Duncan also holds the school record in the triple jump, which she set with a 36-41/2 in sectionals last year. She competes in the long jump, but has never taken it past the regular season. Her longest jump is 16-7.  Hickman basketball coach Julie Sommer described Duncan as a perfectionist, but five years of jumping and two years of rock climbing have taught her that sometimes you stumble on the way to success.

 

``Once you're confident, you take more chances,'' Duncan said. ``It teaches you to  have faith in your life, faith in the rock, faith in the rope, faith in yourself.

``After you've done it a little while, it's not a big deal if you fall. You're going to fall a few times while you're learning to do more complex things, but you feel so much better about yourself when you use a hard move successfully.''

By MELINDA VIA
 

Physical Peak
 
Rock-climbing builds the brain and the body.

By JONATHON BRADEN of the Tribune’s staff

 
As his body meandered from rock to rock, Aaron Olson’s chalky hands tucked inside the rocks’ holes along an indoor rock climbing wall.

His fingers and feet sustained his presence on the rock-littered wall as his sweaty, bare torso dangled inches from the heavily padded floor. The 21-year-old’s head moved like a quarterback looking for an open receiver - always searching for the next rock.

The University of Missouri senior was bouldering - rock climbing indoors on shorter walls - at the Bouldering Garden on St. Charles Road east of Columbia.

"It’s kind of like proving to your body that you can do a lot more than you think you can do - getting past these big physical barriers and mental barriers that you think you have," Olson said. "But you can really push through a lot of them."

Rock climbing challenges people in unique ways, Olson said. It’s an activity in which the body’s core is vital for success, but the forearms will be the first to yield. It requires enormous trust in a partner’s ability. It is also a sport that’s relatively low-key in Columbia, rock climbers said. But once people climb, they tend to climb again.

"I got up on the wall, and I found out I didn’t want to be anywhere else," said Andrew Maerz, a doctoral chemistry student at MU who’s been climbing for almost five years.

Rock climbing, at its most basic form, is different than other sports or activities. Like other extreme sports, there is no designated or official field. And similar to other niche communities or sports, each participant plays the role of ambassador.

"It’s a cool place to guide someone through in that epic moment for them," said Luke Miedema of Columbia. "It’s fun to see people conquer those things and those battles."

There are a number of options for climbers, but the most common method is top rope, in which the rope goes from the belayer to the top of the climb and then to the climber. The belayer controls the amount of slack the climber receives and stands at the bottom of the route.

Miedema’s brother Eric, a sophomore industrial engineering major at MU, said frustration and problem-solving reign in rock climbing.

"It’s kind of like a puzzle combined with strength and being in shape," Eric Miedema said. "It’s not a good climbing day if you don’t get" frustrated.

Eric Miedema completed a 21-day climbing course in the Rocky Mountains with the National Outdoor Leadership School that involved developing and teaching climbing skills and philosophy.

Drew Fowler, a doctoral chemistry student at MU, recently joined Maerz for his first night of bouldering.

"This is completely different," said Fowler, 23, who’s played more traditional sports such as basketball and football in the past. "My fingers have been hurting since I got here."

Maerz, 22, played soccer at Hickman High School. "I guess I was in pretty good shape," he said. "But then I started this, and I gained 15 pounds of muscle in two months."

Rock climbing is not just for the young, though. "A climber can climb his or her entire life," said Marcus Floyd, owner of the Bouldering Garden. Floyd, 34, has operated the bouldering facility since 1993.

Floyd offers two rock-climbing courses: a one-night beginner’s course that costs $25 and a four-week course for more advanced climbers that costs $225.

"A lot of people think that before you start to rock climb, you need to work out muscle groups," Floyd said. "This isn’t a cliquey crowd. The best way is to decide you’re going to climb and just start."
 

Extreme makeover: Silo edition

click here to read more
CHRIS MACHIAN/THE WORLD-HERALD
Published Wednesday December 2, 2009
 Enlarged photo

Justin Deharsh makes his way up an old grain silo near 34th and Vinton Streets Saturday afternoon. If everything “falls into place,” a public climbing park could open on the site in May, Omahan Rick Brock says.

 
Links to other near business sites:
WOODLINK FENCE COMPANY www.woodlinkfence.com located in Columbia, Missouri MO, at Lake of the Woods Exit 131 off I 70
NOAH's PETSHOP www.noahspetstore.com   Pet store located in Columbia, Missouri MO, at Lake of the Woods Exit 131 off I 70
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