PSU students seek new heights with Climb Above Addiction fundraiser

  • Climb Above Addiction event co-planner Andrew Casler ascends a rock climbing route at the world-class Rumney Rocks climbing area. The May 12 Climb Above Addiction field day event, 415 Buffalo Road, Rumney, N.H., will be held across the road from Rumney Rocks. Photo by Nuria Anguita-Bates. Courtesy—

Monitor staff 
Published: 5/5/2018 11:04:28 PM

A group of Plymouth State University students are organizing a fundraiser, “Climb Above Addiction,” in an effort to fight the opioid crisis.

The event is structured like many other benefit runs and walks like Concord’s Rock ‘N Race, but with a twist. Instead of running a 5K, participants will spend the day hiking or climbing a rock wall. All proceeds will go toward the Plymouth House, an opioid addiction treatment center.

The idea to host a day of rock climbing came from a theory of addiction treatment called adventure therapy. Andy Casler, an MBA candidate at Plymouth State as well as an avid rock climber, explained how thrilling outdoor experiences like climbing can benefit people suffering from addiction more than just walking or jogging.

“People can gain a lot more from an experience that gets their adrenaline up and helps them find that they’re capable of more than they thought they were,” Casler said. “As a climber, I can’t count the times that I thought I couldn’t have made it through a climb, but somehow I make it to the top. It gives you a real sense of accomplishment.”

As a graduate student, Casler coaches a social entrepreneurship class at Plymouth State. With the help of a campus group Enactus, the class organized Climb Above Addiction. They hope to establish a $5,000 scholarship for the Plymouth House, a 12-step addiction recovery center in Grafton. Graduates from the program will participate in the climb as a way of staying involved with the Plymouth House community and connecting with the outdoors.

The public is invited to join them on May 12 for a day of climbing, live music and a barbecue. The event is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. at the Rattlesnake Campground, 415 Buffalo Road, in Rumney.

There will also be speeches from Plymouth House program director Matt Howe and a representative from Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s office.

There is no admission fee, but participants are encouraged to make a $10 donation.

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