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Zombies challenge students in wall climbing competition

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Students Amit Raghvanshi (bottom left) and Krista Bryson (top right) race past zombies on the climbing wall for the Outdoor Adventure Center’s Zombie Climbing Competition on Oct. 13.  Credit: Nick Roll / Lantern reporter

Students Amit Raghuvanshi (bottom left) and Krista Bryson (top right) race past zombies on the climbing wall for the Outdoor Adventure Center’s Zombie Climbing Competition on Oct. 13.
Credit: Nick Roll / Lantern reporter

The walking dead can now climb.

“The difficulty of the advanced course is about 5.10b.” After competing in the Outdoor Adventure Center’s Zombie Climbing Competition in honor of AMC’s season four premiere of “The Walking Dead,” I still don’t really know what that means, except that it’s extremely hard.

The OAC set up a zombie-themed party, complete with two of their own employees dangling on the climbing wall as zombies attacking anyone who dared to try and make it to the top.

As if that wasn’t intimidating enough, the first question I was asked when I walked in was, “Do you need your own gear?” Excuse me? There are people here who climb enough to have their own gear? The last time I climbed was two years ago at summer camp and nobody had their own equipment — and we certainly didn’t have a fancy rating system for difficulty.

Obviously, I was out of my element, but that didn’t stop me from choosing the advanced course over the beginner course. Come on, would Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) from “The Walking Dead” choose the beginner course? The fact that I would have to later admit to the entire student body in a newspaper article that I chose the beginner course may have also played a role in my choice of the advanced course.

As I waited in line, watching my fellow competitors climb and try to avoid the zombies, I had mixed feelings. On one hand, I have incredible athletic ability (they don’t let just anyone be the manager of the high school soccer team, you know, and stirring all that Gatorade built a lot of muscle), but on the other hand, there were people who actually climb on a regular basis here, and they were my competition.

From the ground, the ARC employees who were acting as the zombies seemed pretty lazy — like walkers who just got a full meal — but things changed when I got up there (yes, despite my fears, I did make it more than 10 feet up). Suddenly, the lazy, dangling, zombies were getting in the way, letting out creepy zombie moans, and even taunting me — and later directing taunts at my mother.

The first time they attacked, it seemed like they came out of nowhere, as I was focused on somehow stretching my 5-foot-6-inch frame far enough to grab a handhold, and I may have let out an embarrassing scream, to the amusement of the rest of the workers and climbers. Eventually, though, the zombies warmed up to me and gave me a few hints on where to go, as I frantically tried to find another handhold.

Although I never made it to the top of the wall, I gave it my all, and there was plenty of free food at the end to help me cope with my loss. I wasn’t the only one who had a good time, though, as all the workers — who went all out with zombie makeup — and most of the climbers who already finished stuck around to watch more people attempt to make it up the wall and past the zombies, and later the season four premiere of “The Walking Dead” at the OAC. The climbers with the fastest times were given prizes, including T-shirts and different seasons of “The Walking Dead” on DVD.

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