Play – Summer Solstice in the City of Rocks

chicks city of rocks participants enjoying dinner together after a day of play, learning to climb

Chicks City of Rocks Climbing clinic participants enjoying a summer dinner with the telling of heroic climbing deeds ©Kitty Calhoun.

Ah the benevolence of God to provide mortal climbers with such a place to play as the City of Rocks!

One of my favorite things to do is climb during summer solstice in a landscape littered with giant, granite domes and towers! Lucky for me, that is exactly what I’ll be doing this summer solstice in City of Rocks, Idaho at our City of Rocks Climbing clinic.

It’s just March, but last week, during a brief warm-spell, I caught myself thinking about summer. Especially the part about wearing nothing but a long-sleeve shirt and shorts. Summer evenings––gathered with fellow climbers to laugh and tell stories of heroic deeds, both real and imagined––are the best. Then, I was brought back to winter as the wind picked up, temperatures plummeted and it started to snow.

You may not think of a rock climbing Mecca like City of Rocks as a playground. You may not think play is important.

But, think again… Play is a “voluntary, intrinsically motivated activity normally associated with recreational pleasure.” And, according to Play, Creativity, and Lifelong Learning, there are many benefits to playing:

“Play is a doorway to learning. It stimulates our imaginations, helping us adapt and solve problems. Play arouses curiosity, which leads to discovery and creativity.  The components of play – curiosity, discovery, novelty, risk- taking, trial and error… are the same as the components of learning.”

Not only does City of Rocks fit the description of a climber’s playground. With over 1000 traditional and sport-climbing routes, the City of Rocks is endowed with tons of high-quality granite climbing classics. Renowned for solution pockets and chicken-heads, good footwork and balance are key climbing skills at the City. Meanwhile patience rewards you as you learn to play the fine-granite long game, figuring out sequences and learning to trust small holds.

It’s a pity that for most, “play” connotes triviality because it’s just as important for adults as it is for children. Remember, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing,” said George Bernard Shaw.

So, stop growing old! Come and play with Chicks at our City of Rocks Climbing – Idaho Rock Climbing Clinic over summer solstice.

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