SOU students take advantage of nice weather by rappelling at Emigrant Lake

Ashland, Ore. - With warm temperatures and dry weather conditions, this weekend provides the perfect opportunity to get outside and enjoy nature. Southern Oregon University students did so by rappelling down a rock face at Emigrant Lake - some of them for the first time.

"I would say I've always had the attitude, you know, I don't know if I'm going to like something until I try it and I've always been open to trying new things," Ben Gradel, a junior year student, said.

Gradel loves the outdoors and being active, but this was his first time rappelling.

"There's a lot of overlap between different sports," Gradel said. "It's not just you're hiking and coming down the whole time, you get to kind of bond with the group you're with and share an activity together."

The climbing manager for the Southern Oregon University Outdoor Program said he just wanted to get outside. He decided to do a rappelling trip for the first time in the Outdoor Program.

"We taught a lot of the new techniques to these people," Nathan Swanson said. "Most of the people that are doing it are beginners and that's kind of what we're reaching out for."

For one student, she took her first step in the right direction toward what she wants to do in school.

"I want to be an Outdoor Adventure Leadership major so this was exactly what I wanted to get into," Olive Blake, a freshman at SOU, said. "I was actually kind of disappointed I didn't start it sooner."

The SOU Outdoor Program picked the perfect weekend to go rappelling even though it's not climbing season.

"I wanted to get people out and get experience with outdoor climbing and that sort of world," Swanson said. "As the climbing manager that's where I live. Rappelling's the first thing we could do out of season. I knew it wouldn't be too cold on the rock."

The program offers students drastically different outdoor experiences, but takes advantage of the nature surrounding the university to help students explore different outdoor interests.

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