SPEARFISH, S.D. — A college student in South Dakota found a challenging way to celebrate his 25th birthday.
Kevin Isely climbed 25 routes on Nov. 4 along the northern edge of the Black Hills National Forest. A student at Black Hills State University, the Minnesota resident planned 25 different routes within Spearfish Canyon as a mental and physical challenge, reported Black Hills Pioneer .
“I was turning 25 and still an undergrad, so I was feeling old and asked, ‘What is something that would make me feel young?'” Isely said.
He had never climbed 25 routes in a single day before his birthday.
“I’ve only ever done 10 or 12 pitches in a day,” he said.
Isely began climbing about three years ago when his roommate took him on a climbing trip. Now he tries to get others involved in the sport.
Rock climbing routes are rated by difficulty on a scale that ranges from 5.0 to 5.15d. A relatively easy climb is rated as a 5.0, and feels comparable to climbing a ladder.
Isely usually climbs in the mid 5.10’s and 5.11’s, but he planned to keep his ascents relatively easy because of the number he intended to accomplish. He started his birthday climb with 5.4 ascents and eventually took on more challenging routes of 5.8 and 5.10.
Unexpected snow and low temperatures made Isely’s climb slippery and demanding. The canyon’s sharp pockets caused excruciating pain in his hands as darkness neared, he said. But after repeating a route in the dark, he completed his birthday goal of 25 climbs in 12 hours.
“Although I didn’t reach my original goal of 25 different routes, I think I had 20 different routes, I’m still really happy and proud because I gave everything I had to finish the 25 climbs,” Isely said.
Information from: Black Hills Pioneer, http://www.bhpioneer.com