Climbing their way to the top

By Casey Kellas, The Observer February 15, 2013 10:14 am

Larry DeNucci, an instructor with Everlast Climbing Co., instructed a group on proper climbing techniques last Friday at SE Miller gymnasium in Union. CHRIS BAXTER/The Observer
Larry DeNucci, an instructor with Everlast Climbing Co., instructed a group on proper climbing techniques last Friday at SE Miller gymnasium in Union. CHRIS BAXTER/The Observer
 

New rock-climbing wall comes to Union

For the past three years, students in the Union School District have been working relentlessly to raise money for a new top rope climbing wall.

Last week, all of that hard work paid off when Everlast Climbing Company out of Mendota Heights, Minn., resurrected a 16-feet tall by 20-feet wide traverse rock climbing and top rope climbing wall in SE Miller gymnasium. 

The wall cost a little more than $20,000, according to Union High School science teacher Greg Poor, who was the one pushing for the wall.

But Poor made no mistake about who was responsible for bringing the wall to Union.

“I want to make this clear: there was no school district money involved,” Poor said. “It was all fundraising, donations and sponsorships.”

Poor said the Union High School student council was instrumental in the fundraising, while Pepsi Bottling Co. and the Union PTA made donations.

Poor said that the wall will have a variety of uses for students in the Union School District.

“It brings something new,” Poor said. “It’s going to be used to promote a lot of stuff — team building, self-confidence. After-school programs can use it. It’s non-competitive, so I think that it will be really good for the kids.”

The only other rock climbing wall in Union, Baker or Wallowa counties is at Eastern Oregon University, according to Poor.

“We’ll use it for physical education. It’s good for conditioning, so our sports teams can use it,” said Poor, who coaches the Union High School baseball team.

Last week, Larry DeNucci, an instructor with Everlast Climbing Co. came to Union to train Poor and a handful of others on proper climbing techniques.

Now that the local instructos are certified, students in Union can begin taking on the challenge of traversing the wall, practicing a hobby that is ever-growing in popularity.

“It’s a great community asset. The students have worked so hard to raise the money for it. It was a great community effort,” Poor said.