Dylan Narkawicz climbs his way to the top

His palms are sweaty. Knees weak, arms are heavy. He’s fallen off this wall already, expert difficulty. He’s nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready, to reach the top, of this rock wall it’s steady.

This is a day in the life of Dylan Narkawicz, senior, as he hangs at awkward angles, slowly making his way up steep rock faces or rock climbing walls. Narkawicz has been climbing for four years now, and his skills and strength have progressed rapidly.

“Besides being a great way to stay fit, climbing makes me feel truly happy and there is always a new goal you can set for yourself to improve and get stronger,” Narkawicz said. Rock climbing is one of the most strenuous sports out there, requiring not only muscles of steel, but also an iron will to keep climbing up even the hardest routes.  

Narkawicz will go climbing at least three to four times a week. He usually works out at the climbing gym Boulder Dash, but he does not limit himself to the indoors. Occasionally, he will find a great spot in the outdoors and either free solo without a harness, or strap himself in if the route is a sizable one. On these occasions he will usually bring a couple friends with him.

“For me, the hardest part is trying a route over and over again. Dylan will probably try a route over 20 times and bring a new idea to each trial. How else do you think he gets those major big biceps,” Angelina Powers, senior, said.

Narkawicz is determined when it comes to rock climbing, refusing to give up on a course that he knows he can do. Sometimes, simply approaching the wall from a different angle makes all the difference.

“One time I was climbing outside in Angeles National Forest and I saw a few guys all falling on this one hard move, I tried it the way they were and eventually when I tried it my way, I stuck the move and finished the route,” Narkawicz said.

Narkawicz tries to apply this mentality outside of rock climbing as well, always trying his own way rather than following what other people are doing. Whether it be in school, on the rock wall, or just in general, Narkawicz would rather have fun and fail just to try again succeed, rather than succeed the first time doing it someone else’s way.

As for his motivation, Narkawicz’s dad was a large part of why he started. “My dad was a climber when he was younger and one day he took me to an indoor rock climbing gym and I loved it at the start,” Narkawicz said.

Narkawicz plans to carry on with rock climbing for many years to come, making time for it whenever he can and staying fit so he can conquer any course.

“In the future, I still see climbing as a huge part of my life and I plan to travel around the world to climb different areas. I’ll probably be living in a van and simply be doing what makes me happy,” Narkawicz said.

Narkawicz’s determination draws much admiration from anyone who has seen him climb. Aaron Fang, senior, has been climbing with him a few times now, and he has nothing but respect for him.

“Dylan’s most admirable quality is his tenacity to see a problem through its end,” Fang said. “Also his screams which I can hear halfway across the gym. They are inspirational.”

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