Emma Rea: It’s The Climb


Katelyn Finch

Emma Rea, 11, poses for picture.

A team of climbers looks up to see 55 feet of climbing wall. They stretch and start to focus on the climb. Junior Emma Rea warms up before her rock-climbing competition at Summit Climbing in Plano.

Rea sits on the ground as she watches competitors complete their climbs. She’s competing with – not only other people but her mind as well.

Rea has rock-climbed for over 5 years across the DFW area. Her cousin, Matti Dennis introduced the sport to her when she came along for a practice. Since then, Rea has practiced every weekend and competed once a month. 

“The challenge of climbing made me continue,” Rea said. “I wanted to keep going and defeat the challenge.”

Dennis travels the world and completes online schooling on the sport. 

She has practiced the sport for over eight years. Dennis sparked Rea’s interest in the sport and they still climb together. 

“I decided to bring Emma climbing one day because I knew she would have the same appreciation for it as I do,” Dennis said. “She picked it up naturally and has loved it ever since.”

Rea climbs almost every weekend since her introduction to the sport. Competitions yielded around 40 competitors every weekend, and her frequent practices were in preparation to out-climb these people. For Rea, these were opportunities to show off her skills and progress. 

I wanted to keep going and defeat the challenge,”

— Emma Rea

“During climbs I feel a lot of adrenaline rushing to get me through it,” Rea said. “Afterward, I try to remain positive no matter how the climb went.” 

In September, Rea suffered from a torn ligament that stopped her from training and practicing. The injury prevented her from climbing and participating in drill team as well. Rea has to abstain from physical activities for three weeks.

“I plan on overcoming my injury by resting well and not getting [back] into physical activities too fast,” Rea said. “I believe if you rest yourself first, you can get better later.”

To prevent future injury and improve herself, she stretched, iced and wrapped her foot. For two of the three weeks, she used crutches at school and home to relieve her foot from pressure.

“I had to stay off my foot and stretch out my foot and Achilles regularly,” Rea said. “I was lucky enough that my injury was not serious enough to do physical therapy.” 

The injury added to Rea’s decision to stop competing and focus on school. Although she has not completely recovered, she recently returned to her normal physical activities.

“My injury was a setback,” Rea said, “but I’m back dancing and climbing and still ice my foot as often as I can.” 

Though the injury only affects the present, Rea does not see rock-climbing as a prominent part of her future. 

“I love rock climbing with all my heart, but I don’t want to make it my whole future,” Rea said. “I would like to climb in college but just for fun; no competitions.”