Vertical Edge
December 15, 2012

On December 15, 2012, Troop 216 did it's last ever climbing overnighter at the Vertical Edge Climbing Center (VECC) in Durham, NC.  Why the last?   Because Vertical Edge will be closing its doors for good on December 23rd - a sad occasion for our troop since this outing has been a fixture on our activity calendar for at least 10 years running!  Looks like we'd better start looking for a new venue for 2013 right away.

Anyway... about scouts and 7 adults arrived at VECC between 9:30 and 10:00PM.  Among the adults were four returning T216 alumni - Chris Becker, Alex Gay, Sean Lang and Gary Meyer.  All are Eagle Scouts and NC State students (2 juniors, a sophomore and a freshman).   It was really great for Mrs. Wood, Mr. Lowman and Mr. Meyer to see our alumni return and actively participate with the troop (and even better that these college guys had more energy to stay up all night than the rest of us did!).

Once everyone had arrived the, experienced belayers (those trained to "hold the rope" for climbers, ensuring the climber's safety in case of a fall) assisted those new to climbing as they put their climbing harnesses on.   After a quick safety briefing, most of the boys started climbing while Chris Becker and Gary Meyer (the bearded ones in the photos) trained a handful of new belayers to prepare them for the belayer certification test.  By about 11:30, everyone was fully engaged in climbing!

It's always amazing to see how some of these boys move like spiders up the walls!

Per tradition, we placed a sizeable order with the local Domino's Pizza, which arrived at about 12:45AM.  By 1AM, the pizzas were being served on the loft at the back of the climbing gym and everyone seemed to be plenty hungry by then!   From there, many of the scouts returned to climbing while others stayed on the loft playing cards or watching movies on a little 9 inch television that one of the scouts brought.  It was kind of funny to see everyone gathered around that little screen - reminiscent of the early days of television, I suppose.

By about 2:30AM those who were going to sleep started to find corners to go curl up in their sleeping bags.   As usual, there was a group of hard core climbers that stayed up for the duration.   In fact, this year about 1/4 of the scouts did just that, which is more than we usually have!

By 6AM, those who went to sleep were being awoken by SPL Brian K so we'd have time to turn in our gear and police the facility.   All of that was done by 6:30, when parents started arriving to pick up their tired but happy scouts!   Everyone was on their way home by 7AM -- thanks to all of the parents for being on time!

A special thanks to ASM Jennifer Wood for organizing this outing and the pizza order (as well as providing drinks and ice)! Thanks also to SPL Brian K for keeping things running smoothly during the event as well as to adult leaders Campbell Lowman, Chris Meyer, and the NCSU gang for providing support and oversight to ensure everyone had fun and stayed safe all night!