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The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

A ledge-defying hobby

Senior spends his free time rock climbing
Aeden Romero
Senior Aeden Romero is moving up on the wall at his local gym. “When I’m climbing, I am not thinking about anything else other than my current position,” Romero said. “I can be holding a position for up to five minutes, so staying focused is the most important thing to do.”

For many high school seniors, spending their free time working on college applications and scholarships has appeared to be at the top of their never-ending to-do list. For senior Aedan Romero, however, belaying a new hobby has taken up all of his spare time. 

In the past eight months, Romero has spent his time bouldering, a form of rock climbing commonly practiced in the Midwest. It is practiced with no rope or harness and due to the lack of real rock in Nebraska, it is performed on small or artificial rock walls, therefore, training both his finger and grip strength, paired with a lot of core and back training, has made strides in his form and technique while learning the basics of climbing.

“I started rock climbing in early August and got into it because I’m intrigued by calisthenics, an exercise derived purely from body weight,” Romero said. “Alongside training my grip and core, I weightlift pretty consistently, which has helped me quickly improve. After a couple of months of climbing, it is common for climbers to plateau, meaning your progress stops and you have to try really hard to make any progress, but that has not happened to me yet, so I am happy with any improvement no matter the size.”

Along with training, Romero has continuously inspired his peers to start climbing. At the beginning of his rock climbing career, senior Ella Konwinski and her brother-in-law introduced him to his newfound passion. The two Millard West rock climbing locations, one in Omaha and the other in Lincoln have a discount for high school students, making this a cheap activity that is heavily sought after.

“My brother-in-law has been climbing for 13 years,” Konwinski said. “Whenever he and my sister came down to Omaha he always went to the climbing gym. My sister Macy and I went with him once and then Macy stuck with it. I then began climbing with her sometimes, which is how I got into it. Aeden then began getting into climbing and I took him to the gym that Christian, my brother-in-law, took me to and we have been going together ever since. Aeden starting to climb inspired me to go back, as I had someone to go with.”

Among other things while rock climbing, climbing without a rope or harness consumes most of the danger. However, rock climbing gyms across America make falling more catered to each climber, ensuring the safety of their gyms. Still, Romero’s mother, Shelly Romero has her worries.

“I would much rather have him wear a rope or harness,” Shelly Romero said. “Although Aeden has explained what he is doing, and assured me what he is doing is safe, I still have my doubts. I will also never watch him climb, as it scares me too much.”

Finding his newfound passion has only done good for himself and the rock climbing community. In the future, Romero will continue to inspire his peers and others around him to start climbing, as it has inspired him in more ways than one.

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About the Contributor
Nathan Buroker, Staff Reporter
Nate is a senior and this is his second year on the CATalyst staff. In class, he enjoys writing reviews on new entertainment and doing broadcasts on school related events. Outside of school, Nate enjoys spending time with his friends, trying new restaurants, and working.

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