Day Campers Learn the Ropes

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Youngsters from Valley Trails Day Camp in Tarzana couldn’t go to the mountains Wednesday so, as British essayist Francis Bacon might have put it, the mountain came to them.

But the peak they scaled was only 24 feet, built of fiberglass and ceramic clay, with handholds and four steel anchors for belaying ropes.

By the end of the day, most of the 150 campers, from kindergartners to ninth grade, had made it to the top and back.


“It helps them conquer their fears,” explained camp director Mike Stillson.

This is the first summer that the camp, home of the private Woodcrest Elementary School, has offered rock-climbing. The mountain was rented and trucked in, but Stillson said he hopes to have a permanent structure next year.

“This is extremely safe, extremely fun and extremely exciting,” he said. “If you want to experience something really dangerous, try spending an afternoon on a miniature golf course with these kids.”