By Kate Surgner and Excellence Perry
“I am not a thrill seeker, and climbing is not a thrill seeker sport, it’s very calm.” After going to a rock climbing summer camp, and deciding to become a member at Peak Experiences Indoor Climbing Center, Parker Reed’s (’17) love for rock climbing only continued. “I went with my dad a few times and I got really into it… I realized I was kind of natural at climbing.” With his natural ability, and passion to improve, he tried out for Peaks Experience’s climbing team.
Reed has been on the team for two years and has had the opportunity to participate in many competitions. Rock climbing competitions are separated into two disciplines: sport climbing, which includes taller walls and ropes; and bouldering, which suspends the climber 15 feet above the the ground without ropes. “I participate in difficulty climbing… It’s just really hard to get to the top because the holds on the wall are really far apart or really small, so you need to figure out the sequence of how to climb the wall.”
Aside from competitions, climbing has also given Reed a chance to visit and climb many places not only in Richmond, but around the world. “The main reason I got into climbing was from prior climbing outdoors.” The New River Gorge, located in Glen Jean, West Virginia, is one of Reed’s go-to outdoor climbing destinations. “Climbing outdoors is extremely fun. It’s inspiring to find different routes and get stronger so that you can ascend the course.” Additionally he has been lucky enough to climb in Chattanooga, Tennessee; The Red River Gorge in Kentucky; Mallorca, Spain; and Oregon Smith Rock in Oregon. After high school, Reed intends to graduate competitive climbing; however, he’ll continue to enjoy outdoor climbing experiences such as these.