Most people who encounter a large boulder in their way would take the path of least resistance and walk around it. Not so for Xaverian’s Rock Climbing Club leaders, Dylan Raimondi ’19, Matt Mancini ’19, and Cole McElhinney ’19; they would tell you to go over it.
The Rock Climbing Club, Xaverian’s newest extracurricular activity, began as a fun idea last summer. Dylan, Matt, and Cole were climbing at Central Rock Gym in Randolph and noticed there was a large group of Xaverian students who frequented the gym. One of them suggested there should be a club for the activity at school. But in order to do that, they needed one important thing: a club moderator.
After school started in the fall, Dylan had a meeting with his new school counselor, R.D. Jenkinson. Dylan says he could tell Mr. Jenkinson was outdoorsy by the nature scenes decorating his office and his brown patagonia vest. As such, he mentioned his hobby of rock climbing. Mr. Jenkinson was intrigued. It turns out that he had a job in college working at a rock climbing wall and is friends with many good climbers. And so, the Rock Climbing Club got its start with a climbing enthusiast at the helm as moderator.
Students travel to Central Rock Gym after school on Wednesdays and everyone, from freshmen to seniors, just starts climbing. There are typically 15-20 Hawks at each session, sometimes as many as 30. Plus, Mr. Jenkinson says that when he goes to the gym on non-club days, there are usually a handful of Xaverian students there as well. For Mr. Jenkinson, climbing is about more than just exercise. He says, “The survival component of it forces you to strip away all the nonessential things in life,” and notes that his favorite thing about climbing is how inclusive it is: “You see everyone climbing at different abilities, but everyone is supporting each other.”
Although climbing is not a team sport, Mr. Jenkinson says, “There’s a lot of community involved, and a lot of helping each other.” He adds, “Climbing is a really big workout. You can’t just climb routes back-to-back-to-back or you will get pumped out. While resting, guys give and receive advice, and socialize with other climbers.” Even if traditional sports don’t appeal to someone, Mr. Jenkinson says that climbing provides students an outlet to the outdoor world: “It’s a physical, athletic activity, but you don’t have to be good at traditional sports to be able to do it.”
As the founding seniors graduate, they hope the Rock Climbing Club lives on and inspires younger students. Matt Mancini ’19 says, “I hope that those who don’t know how to rock climb now eventually develop a passion for it like I have.”
Pictured here is Dylan Raimondi '19.