Getting Personal: Climbers in training count on Lakenheath instructor
Stars and Stripes May 21, 2008
Wes Musall runs the indoor rock climbing program at RAF Lakenheath. He began rock climbing in 1985 to conquer his fear of heights and got hooked. He became a certified instructor in 1993. Stars and Stripes caught up with Musall, a civilian contractor at Lakenheath, at a recent class for children.
What draws people to rock climbing?
Most people who do it have always had the inkling. That’s why I have a "taster’s" session, so people can try it and get a feel for it to see if they like it. You wouldn’t believe how many people don’t know this wall is here.
What do you enjoy most about the sport?
The people are real. All the phony people disappear.
Is it dangerous?
It’s probably the safest sport you’ll ever do. Nobody gets hurt rock climbing if you do it right.
Do you prefer indoor or outdoor rock climbing?
I’d prefer outside if I didn’t live in East Anglia. All the good outdoor climbing is at least two hours away.
Where is the coolest closest climb?
Peak District National Park.
What’s the most important thing to remember when rock climbing?
The buddy check. You always climb in teams of two, and you always check the other person.
What is the most challenging physical aspect of climbing?
It’s balance. Everybody thinks it’s strength. That’s a part of it but not everything.
What is the biggest reward?
When someone gets on the end of a rope, they focus like they never have before or they conquer their fear of heights.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
Watching the kids progress. That’s the biggest perk.