Hike and Climb Trip Tradition

Ritual                                                                                                       Timothy Brennan

DOC Hike and Climb Tradition                                                                  Hanover




Informant Data:

Timothy M. Brennan was born in Princeton, N.J. on June 15, 1995 and grew up in Cranbury N.J. He attended Princeton High School and is currently a student at Dartmouth College in the Class of 2017 majoring in government. Outside of class, Tim is a co-captain of the Dartmouth track and field team and the president of Chi Gamma Epsilon. He is also active in the Christian community and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.


Contextual Data:

Tim went on First-Year Trips and was a member of G225- Hike and Climb. Tim never rock climbed before but loved his first experience rock climbing in New England and continues to enjoy it at Dartmouth. He recalls numerous sources of folktale from his trip that are passed down orally including raiding and a poem ritual. This video was taken in his room in Chi Gamma Epsilon and conducted in English.


Type of Lore- Customary, Ritual


Language- English


Country of Origin- USA


Social/Cultural context: This video was taken in his room in Chi Gamma Epsilon in a relaxed setting and was conducted in English.


Transcript and Informant’s Commentary:

After the first night in the wilderness, the hike and climbers descend from the mountain top at the Dartmouth ski-way to the climbing location near the Dartmouth ski-way lodge. Along the way, the “klimbing croo” stops the group as alien robots and learns about the trippees, leaders and their time thus far. The way the klimbing croo does this changes every year but the function stays the same.


Additionally, after the first day of climbing when the sun is setting, the klimbing croo, trip leaders and trippees meet on top of the final cliff they climb overlooking the Holt Cliffs. At the top, they form a circle as the students discuss their hopes, fears, plans, and anxieties for their next four years at Dartmouth. The trip leaders and klimbing croo also give advice to the trippees. Then, they stand in a circle holding hands with the right arm crossed over the left and recite a poem. Each line first spoken by one of the croolings and then repeated by everyone:


I am strong and beautiful.

The world is wide, my future full.

I know I find myself akin

To moose and trees and rocks and men

No matter where I find myself

If on a rock or on a couch

Or strolling across the campus green

I will not forget…

To know that I, like one small rock

Am a part of the great Mt. Moosilauke

And that the woods are there for me

As when college first began

At the end of the poem everybody spins outwards, and because of the way the hands are cross the circle is unbroken with each person facing outwards.

Everyone symbolically and physically moves from facing inwards to outwards, preparing to move on from trips into Dartmouth, to grow from who they are, into who they will become.

Collector’s Comments: This ritual seems to be near the end of the rites of passage for first-year students at trips. The poem and talk emphasize that they are about to leave the comforts of their friends and the woods and incorporate into the new world of Dartmouth.225, Hike and Climb,

Tags/Keywords: 225, Hike and Climb, poem, rock climbing

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