Dawn News

Rock climbing the new rave

ISLAMABAD, Sept 27: Boys and girls from different schools pushed their climbing skills to the test as they marked the world tourism day on Thursday.

The competitions were made possible, when Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) and the Adventure Club jointly organised wall climbing contests for students from City School, Beacon House, Multi Adventure Club, NUST, IIUI, and Falcon Club besides a few more.

Nearly 300 children in different age groups — under 9, under 12, under 15 and under 18 and above gathered at the venue of Lake View Park, where they learnt all the basic climbing skills, safety practices to gain confidence and interest about the sport.

The wall climbing competitions have been a regular feature since 2006. It did not matter whether the students were experienced climbers or just starting out, the climbing competitions were a great way to increase their confidence and motivation, meet new friends and improve their overall climbing ability.This year’s theme ‘Tourism and Sustainable Energy: Powering Sustainable Development’ aimed at highlighting tourism’s role in a brighter future, in which the world’s entire population had access to modern, efficient and affordable energy services.

Parents, teachers and instructors looked on with pride, as students strapped in safety gear working against the gravitational pull climbed 60 to 70 feet high walls.

Students clung to plastic grips nailed to the wall, standing on their toes in rock shoes, gripping the holds with their finger tips, often sinking their hands into the chalk bag to prevent slipping, using both legs to push up a wall that only became harder and harder on the way up.

And it was particularly impressive to watch record holder and winner of five consecutive rock climbing contests, Nazia Parveen who speed-climbed the 60 foot wall, in less than 20 seconds.

Hamad Riaz — a student from Beacon House, who had never gone near a wall, let alone climb one — said: “It is harder than it looks from down here. The wall inclines and that’s where the trouble started for me and I could not hold on.”

Out of breath Ayan Malik, another student who slipped half way said she could reach the top in two or three attempts.

The chief guest, Managing Director PTDC, Mir Shahjahan Khetran admired the determination in most climbers.

“It is important that children learn about the importance of mountains in the human life,” said Shahjahan Khetran, after the prize distribution ceremony.

Most instructors and professional rock climbers shared that the young climbers needed more encouragement and the game needed patronage.

“The country offers some of the best rock climbing opportunities. And given the right encouragement, Pakistani climbers could perform as good as foreign climbers,” said a professional climber.

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