Trips, Tips and Tales: a 7-C Adventure Blog
The Outdoor Education Center (OEC) student staff headed to the mountains last weekend. There was fun to be had as everyone took turns conquering the rock climbing routes set up by Director of Outdoor Education, Martin Crawford.
Over 15 OBSA student members caught their first wave. There were the typical wipe-outs with quite a few long rides too! The sun was shining, the waves were perfect. Good times and great company.
Surviving in the Sierra Nevada Mountains with no sleeping bags, no tents, and little food is tough! This semester's Wilderness Survival (offered through Pomona PE) class took on the challenge!
The class traveled to the lower Sierra Nevada Mountains near Kernville, CA. After surviving their mock train wreck, the students hiked about five miles north to escape the simulated forest fire! After they safely found the raging Kern River, they decided to hunker down and make a base camp for three days until Search and Rescue found them.
Despite the alluring yet totally ambiguous title and trip description, Kelso Dunes was in fact the destination for trip leader Megan Farrell (PO’13) and her group fellow adventurers. The group reached the end of the sandy Kelso Dunes Road in the dark, after a foreseeably tardy departure from Claremont. A late moonrise left the surrounding desert-scape shrouded in darkness, allowing for prime stargazing. After some creative dinnertime problem-solving due to a faulty camp stove (read: cooking fajitas and cookies over a tumbleweed fire), the night got chilly and the group bundled up and hunkered down to watch the moonrise. Lulled to sleep by Farrell’s dramatic reading of Spooky Stories from the American Southwest, the group turned in early. Some people woke up for the sunrise, glowing faintly pink over the over the desert.
A solid contingent of current On-the-Loose leaders (read: almost all of them) led a brave group of newbies off into the hinterlands of Malibu. The purpose? To indoctrinate them as leaders of OTL, the raddest student organization found in these parts. Highlights included beach frolicking, dolphin appearances, night hiking, a collaborative jam session and sharing of top-secret club lore. The rookies learned crucial skills such as quesadilla prep, frisbee, knot tying and sunset-appreciating. Despite losing sleep and almost losing the tents to unexpected, fierce winds, spirits remained high. Current OTL leaders touted this trip as, “the best leader training ever.”
Three cheers for the new OTL leaders, the future of outdoors shenanigans is in your hands!
The rock climbing PE class headed to the Mojave (Who knew? It’s more than just sand…) this weekend for some valuable field experience. Students set up camp in the Granite Mountains, spending two days honing their climbing skills on routes ranging from introductory 5.6 to impressive 5.10+. Challenging stamina and testing nerves, the climbers took on an ambitious 100 ft. route and an overhanging rappel. This class was one of three courses offered for credit through Pomona Athletics and operated through the Outdoor Education Center. Students have the opportunity to gain valuable life skills as well as practical skills for later leading trips for on-campus outdoor clubs like POA at Pitzer and OWL at Scripps. After two strenuous days, the group managed to squeeze in an afternoon frolic in the sands of Kelso Dunes. Wildlife sightings included rare fringe-toed lizards (worth googling) and an inebriated fraternity from Cal Poly (not worth googling). Other highlights included TSL read-a-loud sessions and the nightly entree of left-over pasta.
Trip Leaders Micah Berman and Zan Gutowski headed outside to capitalize on a Sunday that most of us spent parked in front of our TVs watching football. The two lead a group to the Devil's Chair, touted as one of the most breathtaking natural landmarks in the region. Berman reports awesome freakin views and superb company as highlights of the hike. Contrary to what the title of the destination would suggest, the group encountered more in the way of puppies and purported honeymooners on the trail than malevolent spirits, hell fire or fallen angels. In other good fortune, no group members were lost into the yawning canyons and cracks opened by the powerful rift action of the San Andreas and Punchbowl faults, though one can never be too careful when considering geologic forces. The group was met with some adversity as they got a late start and the hike took longer than expected.
Intrepid trip leader Ari Davis (CMC ’13) led a group of ambitious hikers on a quest to summit Mt. San Jacinto. Their Feb 10th summit bid was ultimately unsuccessful due to heavy snow conditions. Hikers reported sparse snow on the trail beginning around 3,000 ft. By the tram stop at 8,000 ft., deep snow and dire warnings from the rangers forced the hikers to admit defeat. Though their objective remained just out of reach, the day was an overall success. Davis reports trip highlights of playing in the snow, and the awesome experience of looking out over the desert floor from a snowy vantage. He also reports a sighting of a rare breed of elderly Palm Springs hikers, who sped past the group of young athletes to take a smoke break, and were sighted again at the tram stop getting their drink on.