By Alan Sorensen
Numerous intrepid climbers braved the cold and wet to ascend the slippery slope of the Challenge Rock Wednesday at the Great Northern Fair.
Climbing wall operator Shalonn Denson said that more than 30 people had attempted one of the three ascent paths between 3 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
The wall, which rides from location to location on its own specialized trailer, is raised to its full height by hydraulics built into the trailer.
Once on site, the wall offers three alternate routes to the top, each bearing a different degree of difficulty.
The hard way up is on the right, Denson said. The medium is on the left, and the easy is in the middle.
The climbers step into harnesses before attempting their climbs and are hooked up to automatic guy wires. The slack is taken up on the guy wire as the climber progresses up the wall, and the wire then provides automatic tension for the climbers descent.
Upon reaching the top of a given route, the climber pushes the yellow button at the front of the wall to signify the success of the climb. As a rule, the button push results in a loud buzzing sound, Denson said, but not here.
The Challenge Rock itself, sits somewhere between a rock and a hard place. Immediately to the north is the church tent, The Resting Place, and immediately to the south is Mike Spencers home. Just across a muddy lane to the east is the free stage.
Denson said the buzzer was turned off to keep from bothering the fair attractions neighbors.
Two of Wednesdays climbers from Winchendon, Mass. were spending the last day of a one-week vacation in Havre. They arrived a week ago to visit the Mitch and Barb Henderson family.
Six-year-old Ethan Gorecki and his 14-year-old sister Elissa had little trouble with the rocky cliff face,
Asked if he enjoyed the climb, Ethen responded quickly with, Yeah! Was it difficult? No.
The young Goreckis successes on the wall were no surprise to their father, Bill, who spends his spare time back home in Massachusetts climbing rock walls.
So what brought the Goreckis to Havre instead of a more exotic location for their summer vacation.
It turns out that Bills brother Richard is married to the Hendersons daughter Michelle.
Bill flew out last year to help Richard drive back, and he liked it here so much, he brought his family back this summer, Barb Henderson said.
Denson said the Challenge Rock will be at the fair until Friday night, but may stay longer if theres enough business.