Rock Climber Folklore


The Dartmouth Mountaineering Club was founded in 1936 and is a popular subclub of the DOC. The club has a climbing gym located in the basement of Maxwell which is staffed by students seven nights per week. The club enjoys a close-knit community full of folklore, from festivals and rituals to jokes and mnemonics. We interviewed undergraduate and graduate students who are active in the club and compiled a list of the folklore.



The folklore is varied, rich, and incredibly telling of the nature of the climbers and the club. Rituals and festivals kick off the start of the climbing season in the Spring, as well as the club’s annual Spring Break Trip. Important customs surround the importance of mindfulness and slowing down, reminding climbers of friends, family, safety, and the joys of climbing. Finally, the folklore items commonly emphasize embracing one’s self, which is reflected by nudity, freedom of expression, and subtle acts of rebellion.


Tessa DeJong, Emily Chao, Re McClendon, Josie Nordrum and Pat Xu

Dartmouth College
RUSS13 Vampires, Witches, and Firebirds
Victoria Somoff & Mikhail Gronas
Spring 2016

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