Around campus, there are plenty of sticker covered Nalgene bottles, slacklines and climbing shoes tied to backpacks. For those of you who want to become involved in this culture, the best place to start is the front doors of the ORC.
For those craving adventure, Amy McCann plans the trips and acquires the all-important permits that allow access to the national parks. McCann explains the best way to become involved is the ORC because, “they offer instruction and educational background to allow students to safely enjoy the outdoors.”
Melanie Stephenson runs the extensive rental desk in the ORC. When packing for a trip, the ORC has everything that you don’t. The ORC is here to be a resource to students, to provide the necessary advice, and equipment, for your next adventure.
The bike/ski shop is also an invaluable resource. Chris Finfrock observes “that students are using grandparents’ bike or those on Craigslist and riding them till they die.” Finfrock takes pride in seeing the bikes his team has repaired fill the bike racks on campus. With five mechanics working over 50 man hours per week, the ORC keeps the campus’ bikes running in the summer time, and our ski/snowboard edges sharp throughout the winter.
The ORC is here to help at any experience level since “the trips are a great opportunity for students to go out and learn, while meeting a lot of cool people”, according to McCann. She challenges students to “come by and see what we rent.” Additionally, Finfrock hopes “to see more kids coming in to do their own repairs.” The community extends far past the ORC, however. Zach Swanson, with the Hiking Club states that, “one of the cool things about the ORC is it introduces people to the outdoors.” Once students are into the ORC, “they start looking for clubs, that’s how the hiking club got started.”
There are a plethora of outdoor communities around campus. Swanson views clubs as a way to “take it a step further than what the ORC can provide.” The clubs on campus are run primarily through Facebook groups, Orgsync, and organized events by the officers.
The hiking club organized a trip to Greys and Torreys Peak in September where they offered three different routes, each with a different difficultly. Essentially, “the hiking club is catering to all different skill levels and mentalities around hiking.”
Every day we see the outdoor community through the slackliners on Kafadar. Jacob Adamson, the president of the Slackline Club explained the multiple lines stretched across the trees, “it’s just what we try to do on Fridays… you get these groups that congregate on Kafadar, a big part of that is the slack line club.” Adamson also voiced his perspective toward the outdoor community on campus, viewing it as “a bunch of engineering students doing their best to relax.” He particularly values the culture that Kafadar has created in the heart of campus, “everyone’s just finding ways to destress; the trees, the slackline community and the hammock community, everyone enjoys the nice, big shady space.”
If you find any interest in the thriving outdoor community at Mines, visit the ORC or walk up to a slackline and just try your best. Whatever experience level you have, the outdoor community is well-established. It’s easy; just check out the Facebook groups and get involved.