Rock Climbing, Rappelling at Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area

Karen prepares her first decent under watchful eye of Ron Currell By Ryan Mitchell.
(Milton, Ontario) Scouts Canada-1st Whitby Venturers left on Friday night July 11, 2003, making their way towards Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area, near Milton, Ontario. In the car was Scouter Brian Wick along with Roderick Dotzko, Selena Lam, Karen Mitchell (a new Venturer) and Ryan Mitchell. Scouter Greg Luke and his son Graham were going to be at the camp as well but would meet the others in the morning. The drive was only about an hour long so it really was not a problem to sit through it. They stopped and ate at Wendy’s around 10:00 pm and then proceeded to drive on to the campsite. They found it without much difficulty and were greeted by the cheerful Venturers from Stouffville. It was decided to set up the tents as soon as possible and get settled in. This did not take them long, first of all because they were well taught in erecting tents and secondly they were motivated by the thought of lying down for the night. Everything was settled and they hit the sacks quickly.

Graham dares to go Aussie-style face first over the 20 m cliff On Saturday, the Companies rose at about 8:00 am. They had to eat a quick breakfast of oatmeal and then head off to the camp parking lot to meet the people who would help them to get started rock climbing for the day. It was a fairly dismal weather at the time but they had been assured that at least one climbing station would be opened for them. They met first with Lauren, who was a trainee in the program. She was thirteen years old and spirited. She gave them equipment to carry and led them down the path towards the cliffs. It was here they met up with Ron Currell, from Oakville. He got them started and introduced them to another trainee, Paul. He also introduced them to a much more experienced climber, Bret, who had been doing the whole rock climbing scene for about seven years. Once everyone was suited up with harnesses and had all the proper karabiners in place. Once the safety talk was given, the group proceeded down a set flight of steps, which led them to the cliff bottom. It was here they began to climb the 20 m (60 ft.) cliffs. Climbing continued until lunchtime.

Ryan used ascender handles to get into a tight spot The weather began to show that it would hold out, so Ron set up a rappelling station from the very top of the cliff. This turned out to be a favourite for most Venturers and even Scouter Rob from Stouffville and Scouter Brian rappelled. Graham was the first to try something known as the “Aussie Rappel” which is where you rappel down the cliff face first. After that everyone else followed suit and tried it themselves. Eventually we were all pretty tired and it was time to pack the equipment away. Ron gave everyone a specific job to do which was great because it got the Venturers involved and allowed them to learn the processes involved in the pack up. When all the bags were filled, and a group thank you was said, everyone carried a specific bag back to Ron’s van. When all was loaded in, many Venturers said thank you personally before Ron departed.

What a great day of rock climbing. When they got back to camp they got cleaned up to go out to Kelsey’s for dinner. When they had finished eating a great supper at Kelsey’s, they headed back to camp, but not until Scouter Brian and Scouter Greg had stopped for a coffee. Back at camp, Selena organized a soccer game for both Venturer companies. Planning and executing this activity was for a requirement for her Queen’s Venturer Award. The game was really successful and everyone had loads of fun. Afterwards the groups sat around the campfire for a while until 1st Whitby decided to go for a walk into the woods. It was a great night hike because no flashlights were used. Eventually, Scouter Greg and Scouter Brian split to go and grab the van. They were nice enough though to take the Venturers with them to McDonald’s for McFlurrys. They were a great treat. Upon reaching the camp gates again, Scouter Greg and Graham decided to head home leaving the others to walk back to the site. Once back everyone went to their tents and fell asleep pretty quickly.

The team assembles as Ryan scales the limestone cliff In the morning the routine was quite similar to most Sunday mornings while camping; get packed up and cleaned up and you are ready to go. Well that is exactly what the Venturers all did and soon it was time to say goodbye and depart. On the ride home, most of the Venturers were tired from the day before and slept. In Whitby, Scouter Brian proceeded to drop off each of the Venturers at his/her house.

The camping experience was really great for everyone, first of all because were able to do it with another Venturer Company. The members of the 1st Souffville Venturers were nice and were always willing to do activities with us. Secondly, we were able to participate in a real rock climbing experience, something none of us get to do on a regular basis. The camp was a general success.

Scouts Canada provides opportunities for youth to enjoy the outdoors through challenging programs as described above. To learn more go to Scouts Canada's website or link to other stories below.

Return to 1st Whitby Venturers
Contact Scouter Brian Wick

Composed July 2003