First Ascent Initiative

zero-G First Ascent

An integrated approach to new learning experiences

 Whole-Brain Experiential Learning  

Rock Climbing based programs

The “first ascent” – a term used in climbing to describe the first time a “new route” is climbed. In rock climbing the particular path and the sequence of “holds” must be seen by the climber in their correct context, in order to solve the problem and slip the bounds of gravity long enough to complete the climb!

When practiced in it’s most integrated fashion – rock climbing can be equated to a synthesis of – power-lifting, running the 1500m (for your arms), gymnastics, the practice of yoga with balletic precision, all while solving “chess like” problems and facing the very real biologically-driven fear of falling…

This complex “learning task” must also be solved under the time pressure applied by gravity and the limitations of specific fitness and energy possessed by the climber on any given day.

Overall a very demanding challenge for anyone that attempts it…

How does the unique challenge of rock climbing apply to life in a wider sense..?

The complex, real-time nature of the “climbing challenge” along with the existential pressure of just being “at the cliff”, arouses a strong visceral response, and takes away from our ability to fully attend to the task at hand, thus making integrated action impossible!

It is in our automatic response to this (climbing) situation, the “anxiety to perform” – strongest the first time we attempt any new challenge (in life) and amplified by how invested in the outcome we are – that makes climbing the perfect “experiential lab” to explore our full capabilities and what limits them.

It is in this context, that the challenge of the “climber’s first ascent” is instructive, and can be applied to understand and improve our performance response to any challenge in daily life.

As “pressure to perform” is about us, and not the activity, when a new challenge is approached in the context of a personal exploration –  rather than as a measure of our ultimate capability, or self worth – the learning experience becomes integrative of our inherent capabilities.


First Ascent integrative learning experiences are available in a number of formats for all age groups from Kids Age 3-4 to Adults.

zero-G First Ascent – Experiential Rock Climbing Outings

Introducing the zero-G Experience through the lens of rock climbing

Experiential Rock Climbing programs provide the unique opportunity for participants to experience climbing as a whole brain experience and profound personal resilience through their “zero-G First Ascent”.

Due to the nature of the exploration that zero-G First Ascent programs are, participants can engage just once or on multiple occasions, deepening one’s experiential understanding of themselves with each participation.

The zero-G First Ascent

Integrative Learning Elements Addressed

  • Trust in Oneself
  • Attention
  • Fear/Action
  • Physical Activation
  • Neuro-Physical Integration
  • Decision Making
  • Intuition
  • Partnership/Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Trust in Another

Technical Climbing Elements

  • Safety
  • Mechanics of Climbing
  • Climbing Technique
  • Whole-body climbing

zero-G First Ascent programs are designed to accommodate people in all levels of development:

Kids: ages 3-4 through 8-10
Youth and Teens: ages 10-16
Adults: of all ages 17+

*Note – ages are flexible based on group composition