Rock Climbing is not new to the founder and other staff at Mountain Spirit Institute, but it’s new to MSI. R. Richards was a rock camp instructor for Outward Bound’s Semester Course in Joshua Tree, CA, a staff trainer, and guide for Alpine Ascents in Seattle. He has been an individual member of American Mountain Guides Association since 1984, (which doesn’t connote certification), and MSI staffer Craig Cimmons has taught rock climbing for years in Vermont, and ran the Outdoor Program at Green Mountain College. Bob Stremba runs the Outdoor Pursuits program at Fort Lewis College, and has been a long-time rock climber and outdoor instructor.
“I always thought it would be cost prohibitive to include insurance for rock climbing as part of our Worldwide Outfitters and Guides Association coverage, but I was wrong,” says founder Randy Richards, adding, “We should have added it years ago, and feel like we really want to take advantage of what we have to offer.” Cimmons, Stremba, and Richards all place a high importance on not only safety but a comfortable learning environment. “With years of teaching rock climbing, and many students with whom we’ve shared our skills, we feel we want to continue to get out on the rock!” says Richards.
MSI includes rock climbing not simply as an outdoor adventure activity, but uses the climbing as a metaphor for life. The facilitators set the tone for participants to take a look at how they problem solve on the rock, and see what correlations they might make in how they solve problems in their daily life. Trust and team-building are also important elements of rock climbing.