Experiencing the outdoors: Outing Club

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By Jessica Doran

As far as extreme outings go, the Outing Club at Union has got it covered.

Ben Carlson ‘12 has been the president of the club since last year, and has worked tirelessly with other members to build it back up to its former glory.

Trip participation is now higher than it has been in awhile and the club is only looking for progression.

In the past, the Outing Club has sponsored trips to the Adirondack High Peaks and the Catskills and this spring they are hoping to run a hiking trip into the gorges near Ithaca.

In addition, they’ve gone outdoor rock and ice climbing, on overnight canoe trips on Lake George, and whitewater rafting on the Upper Hudson River.

Recently, they’ve started running a trip every other week to the Edge Rock Gym in Halfmoon on a weekend evening. They also co-sponsor the annual weekend ski trip at Jay Peak in Vermont with the ski club.

Carlson said, “The presence of an outing club was one of the most important qualities I looked at when choosing where I wanted to go to school, and I don’t think I am alone in that. Strengthening this club not only increases the enjoyment of students already enrolled, but also serves as an important selling point the school can advertise to new prospective students.”

He stated that one of the greatest weaknesses of the club is the lack of equipment, but due to the new resurgence of involvement, this should not be a problem for long.

Good equipment will certainly be needed if they run into any of the extreme conditions they have been caught in before.

“During our whitewater rafting trip last year, after some of the major flooding on the Hudson River, we had one of the rafts in our group hit a massive standing wave and flip over! Everyone fell out, but fortunately our guides were very efficient at righting their raft and getting everyone back in without anyone getting hurt.”

­But with the risk also comes the reward.

“A couple years ago when we did an overnight hiking trip in the Adirondacks and one of the students who came on the trip had never hiked before and probably had no idea what he was really getting himself into,” he said. “Wearing sneakers and jeans, he soldiered through the cold and muddy trails with a smile always on his face. That is what this club is all about.”

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