First Ascent Initiative

zero-G First Ascent

 Whole-Brain Experiential Learning

An integrated approach to new learning experiences

Rock Climbing based programs

A “first ascent” – the term applied in climbing disciplines, to describe the first time a “new route or way” is climbed. In rock climbing the particular path (sequence of hand and foot “holds”) must be “seen” by the climber in their correct context, revealing the “sequence of moves” that must be made to successfully to “solve the problem” allowing the climber to “slip the bounds of gravity” long enough to complete the climb!

When practiced in it’s highest most integrated fashion – rock climbing takes on a form of athletic artistry, a unique vertical synthesis of many human disciplines; power-lifting, running a 1500m track race (with your arms), gymnastics, the practice of “yoga” (with a balletic precision), solving “chess like” biomechanical riddles, all while facing the very real (biologically-driven) fear of being “off the ground”…!

This complex challenge/learning task, must also be solved under the trying conditions of; time pressure (applied by gravity), the limitations of (climbing specific) fitness and the brain mediated attentional energy available to the “climber” on any given day.

Overall, climbing is a demanding challenge for anyone who attempts it, but it is through engaging this type of activity that we are able to experience – through our own actions – our unique way and capacity, to learn and successfully respond to any type of challenge.

Geoff Weigand - Running it out -Ride Like the Wind 2nd Ascent - Mt Arapiles

Geoff Weigand – integrated performance in action on “Ride Like the Wind” 2nd Ascent, Onsight – Mt Arapiles Australia

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

The complex, real-time nature of the “climbing challenge”, in which the existential pressure one experiences by just being “at the cliff” with the intent  of climbing, arouses a visceral survival response – which until we have gained sufficient facility with this response to remain present and aware, diminishes our capacity to fully engage in the “task at hand”, degrading our performance and our ability to act in a functional, integrated way!

It is in our automatic response to this (unique to climbing) “challenge”, combined with the “normal” anxiety brought on by the the “desire 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 “learning integration lab”, as it organically challenges us to  explore our full capabilities and the ways in which we limit ourselves.

As the “pressure to perform” is our psychological response to a challenge, and not the activity itself – when any challenge is approached in the context of a personal exploration, rather than as a measure of our self-worth – the challenge of learning itself becomes a unique, integrative and joyous experience. 

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


zero-G First Ascent – Experiential Rock Climbing Outings

zero-G First Ascent integrative learning experiences are available in a number of formats designed for all age groups from kids age 5 to adult.

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

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

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

The zero-G First Ascent

Integrative Learning Elements Addressed

  • Trust in oneself
  • Attention vs concentration
  • 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 5-6 through 8-10
Youth and Teens: ages 10-16
Adults: of all ages 17+

*Note – Programs can formatted to accommodate mixed age group composition

Programs Information Page: zero-G First Ascent Programs


Geoff Weigand - Coaching with super talented Jessica Haines Big Cottonwood Canyon Utah