Modern Spiderman

2013-10-08 00:00

DALE Rosser has been rock climbing for three years and by his own admission, spends all his spare time climbing.

“Trees, rocks — whatever. If it can be climbed, I’m taking it on,” he said.

“I think my passion for the sport started when I kept climbing and conquering the Rock at Gateway and the thrill of climbing made me want to take it further.”

Dale soon started competition climbing, his wiry, light build ideally suited to whatever challenge lay before him.

“Coming to Kloof High where rock climbing is a sport has been the springboard I needed to take off,” said Dale.

The school has a couple of climbing walls, which have been scaled countless times by the nimble climber.

It’s an experience watching him hitch up and push and pull his way around the wall, hanging upside down and from all angles.

Dale recently spent two weeks in Vancouver, Canada, where he climbed at the World Youth Championships, part of a 10-member South African climbing team.

The actual competition was over five days and while he may not have won any medals, the experience proved priceless. Six hundred competitors from 45 countries did battle.

“It’s a whole different experience overseas.

“The walls are different, difficult and technical, with different techniques exposed,” he said.

“We had one day to practise and the competition wall is only exposed on the day of competition.

“The holds were different and the whole event has broadened my understanding and appreciation of the sport.”

Rock climbing is all about fitness, with body weight exercises a main focus. Developing core muscles is essential and Dale spends much of his time doing push-ups and pull-ups, working on his strength-to-weight ratio.

A quick look at his fingers tells the brutality of the sport. “Tough hands are essential and there are times when my fingers bleed,” he said. “My shoes are also vital as they assist with grip, while a chalk bag enables the sweat on my hands to dry. At 55 kilograms I don’t have too much weight to haul around, but it does get strenuous at times.”

Dale would like to take his climbing career further and compete overseas. He is keen to meet some of the greats of the sport, but knows he needs something to fall back on when his nimbleness deserts him.

“As much as I would just like to spend so much time climbing, I realise I need to study,” he said. “I’m keen to do architecture then have a gap year to travel and climb overseas.”

Name: Dale Rosser

School: Kloof High School

Grade: 10

Sport: Rock Climbing

Achievements: First in KwaZulu-Natal in his age group for the last two years; second in South Africa at selection for World Youth Champs in Canada; KZN rock climbing team for the past three years.

Rosser lifestyle

Enjoys Playstation, particularly Call of Duty games

Likes most music but enjoys metal, reggae and psychedelic rock

Is learning to play the banjo

Never wears a shirt when out of school, preferring just a pair of baggy shorts

Favourite subjects are engineering, graphics and design

Claims that climbers are the least stressed people

Enjoys action and comedy movies

Loves junk food

Trained for an hour a day, working on his core muscles, ahead of champs in Canada

His motto in life is to “Hang in there”.

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