Defying Gravity

Sophomore Cassie Tarrant climbs to new heights

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Defying Gravity

Cassie Tarrant is focused on completing a top-rope route for a school competition at the Upper Limits Rock Climbing Gym in downtown St. Louis.

Cassie Tarrant is focused on completing a top-rope route for a school competition at the Upper Limits Rock Climbing Gym in downtown St. Louis.

submitted by Cassie Tarrant

Cassie Tarrant is focused on completing a top-rope route for a school competition at the Upper Limits Rock Climbing Gym in downtown St. Louis.

submitted by Cassie Tarrant

submitted by Cassie Tarrant

Cassie Tarrant is focused on completing a top-rope route for a school competition at the Upper Limits Rock Climbing Gym in downtown St. Louis.

Ashley Haberberger, Reporter

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While rock climbing could be considered one of the most dangerous sports, that fear hasn’t stopped sophomore Cassie Tarrant. Although she only started climbing a year ago, Tarrant has already fallen in love, and off the wall.

“There have definitely been times when rock climbing has scared me in the past. Like when you first fall from the top of a 15 foot wall in bouldering or you have to let go for the first time while you belay with someone. Some days can certainly be scary, but after a while of doing it, that fear mostly subsides,” Tarrant said. “I really like the environment, and the fact that it’s so different from mainstream sports.”

Before her transfer to Liberty, Tarrant was a member of the rock climbing club at Living Word Christian High School in O’Fallon, where she learned how to boulder (15 foot walls with no ropes or worn safety gear) and top-rope (25-150 foot walls with a belay rope and harness worn while climbing) climb. She has also competed in formal rock climbing competitions held for school-affiliated teams. 

Although some of Tarrant’s friends are a little more apprehensive about the dangers of rock climbing, Tarrant has successfully grabbed the attention of fellow sophomore Erick Ascencio, overriding his concerns about potential injuries.

“If Liberty had a rock climbing club, I would definitely join. I only join clubs that really pique my interest, which rock climbing has, and I think it would be a fun addition to the clubs we already have,” Ascencio said.

While most people know that rock climbing is a sport, it’s not a popular one by any means. Rock climbing incorporates strength, endurance, agility, balance, and more, making some “problems” (routes) incredibly difficult. However, the sport will soon get its recognition in the upcoming 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. 

The format of the event will have athletes speed climb, lead climb, and boulder. While Czech climber Adam Ondra has not yet qualified to be in the event, he still is arguably one of the greatest rock climbers in the world, who earned his fame after climbing “Silence”, which is considered the hardest route ever climbed.

It feels amazing, because I had to work so hard for it and it definitely is the most important route so far in my career. At the same time, I am really proud to have managed the mental aspects of the work on the project,” Ondra said in an interview with Hayden Carpenter after he completed his legendary climb in 2017.

Climbers like Ondra, and perhaps Tarrant one day, inspire us to push our limits and defy gravity.