History of the Guild

Mr. Alexander and Mr. Caisse founded the rock climbing club in thspring of 2015.  Mr.Alexander had showed his American History II class pictures from his spring break climb of El Capitan in Yosemite.  One of Mr. Alexander's students, Blaze Van Dyke, suggested starting a rock climbing club for Enka students.  Mr. Alexander and Mr. Caisse began working on organizing the club.  By the end of the year, a pioneering group of students went on a trip to the old Climbmax Gym in downtown Asheville.

During the summer of 2015, Mr. Sluder also decided to join the club as a faculty advisor.  Mr. Alexander and Mr. Sluder led a trip to the Guides Wall at Looking Glass during the summer with Vivi Santana, Eggy Santana, and Kevin Austin.  On the way to the Glass, the name Guild of Mountaineers - Enka was born.  The club is called GOME and participants are called Gomers.

The club was called a "Guild" because it aspires to be more than just a student interest group.  It strives to be a place where students will slowly grow and learn the art and science of rock climbing.  Just as a medieval trade guild slowly taught apprentices a craft through structured mentorship, GOME will train students in the techniques, ethics, and culture of rock climbing and other mountain pursuits such as backpacking.  Older, more experienced students will mentor younger students and pass down the craft of responsible wilderness adventure.

In the Fall of 2015, Mr. Alexander put together a fundraising campaign on DonorsChoose to raise money to buy all of our equipment.  We had an amazing response from friends, family, and the local climbing community.  We raised $2600 in under 24 hours to buy all of our equipment!  Mr. Alexander contacted Black Diamond and Blue Water Ropes in order to get special prodeal pricing on our gear and we soon had ropes, harnesses, helmets, ATCs, bouldering pads, and other equipment.

We soon began training at Enka on how to properly belay and manage ropes.  We also began taking weekly trips to Iron Palm Bouldering in the fall.  In the spring we began training at Climbmax's new facility, the Smoky Mountain Adventure Center or SMAC.  SMAC allows us to hone both our bouldering skills and rope climbing technique.  We even have Gomers learning to lead climb at the SMAC.

We have also been able to start taking outdoor climbing trips to various destinations near Enka where we can put the skills we have practiced in the gym to the test. 

In addition to teaching students to climb, GOME also has a mission to foster a sense stewardship for nature and our amazing climbing resources.  To that end, we have established a partnership with the Carolina Climbers Coalition.  Gomers volunteered at the annual Rumble bouldering competition,
 raises money for the CCC to protect access to climbing areas around the state.  Gomers helped facilitate the competition. 
The partnership has been beneficial in both 
directions because the CCC helped us secure a large quantity of shoe donations so we can have our own full collection of rock shoes and avoid rental costs.  Find out more about the awesome work the CCC does here.

GOME is just in its infancy and there is a ton of exciting adventures awaiting in the future.  Join us!