June 20, 2013 | Matt Kucinski

This summer, Jake Anderson and Daniel Joo spent three weeks adventuring in Yosemite National Park

Every summer, hundreds of Calvin students scatter across the U.S. and around the world, researching, interning and exploring. This summer, some of these students are keeping us informed about their adventures. Next up: junior Jake Anderson of St. Charles, Ill. and freshman Daniel Joo of Miami, Fla. Anderson is a geology major and Joo, a religion major at Calvin College. The two spent three weeks this summer in Yosemite National Park.

Where are you?

We are at Yosemite National Park in sunny California.

Why are you there?

To grow as outdoor adventurers, expand our knowledge of rock climbing and experience Yosemite, which is known to be the birthplace of modern rock climbing.

What’s your typical day like?

Wake up, wash up, eat breakfast and hit the crags (an area of concentrated rock climbs). On our rest days, we do short day hikes to waterfalls, lakes, rivers and meadows.

What (technically) are you doing?

We are lead climbing, which is where the lead climber attaches themselves to a dynamic climbing rope while placing their own protection to the face of the route and clipping into the protection. This is typically known as "traditional free climbing". The routes we climbed ranged from 40-900 vertical feet.

What (in layperson’s terms) are you doing?

Rock climbing.

How has Calvin prepared you for this?

The CORE (Calvin Outdoor REcreation) director of Calvin, Ryan Rooks, helped us tremendously with the entire planning and logistical process of our trip. We also heavily utilized Calvin's Climbing Wall in order to train and learn all the technical aspects of multi-pitch lead climbing. Students in the Calvin climbing community who had better knowledge about this style of climbing taught us necessary techniques such as setting anchors, crack climbing, rope management and pushed us to climb harder. For Daniel, a winter interim course with Calvin to Joshua Tree helped tremendously. For Jake, his experience lies with a semester he spent with NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School).

What has surprised you so far?

We felt decently prepared to rock climb in Yosemite but when we got there, it was a whole new experience. It was as if we had to learn how to rock climb again, due to the different rock type (polished granite) and style of climbing. Yosemite is the standard for grading routes and therefore the routes are typically much more difficult than those of the same grade elsewhere. Climbs that we did as warm-ups in the gym became full- day climbs and the struggle was real. Nonetheless, the entire process was humbling.

How do you see this shaping your future?

We've managed to plan, organize and execute a month long trip across the country, a process that had many trial and errors. We've walked away from this trip feeling more confident leading parties into the backcountry and educating them about rock climbing.

Best thing you’ve eaten?

Daniel Joo's Backcountry Breakfast Burrito.

Best picture you’ve taken?

We hiked to the top of Half Dome and took a picture with El Capitan in the background (see above).

What’s gone wrong?

A memorable experience was our first multi-pitch route (Munginella) where we managed to get our rope tangled half way up the route and then went off-route, which could have ended disastrously wrong. However, every mistake (seen or unseen) we've made helped us grow into stronger climbers and leaders.

Met anybody memorable?

We've met many famous rock climbers such as: Andy Lewis, Marc-Andre Leclerc, Finn McCann, Tom Evans, Sunny Trotter, Will Stanhope, Erik Sloan, Scott Deputy, Cheyne Lempe, Big Wall Kate (Kate Rutherford) and Team Extreme Riders (a Korean climbing team). Alex Honnold, Dean Potter, Tommy Caldwell and Lynn Hill were also in the valley but unfortunately, we didn't get a chance to meet them.


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