Reaching the top

Ian Lack Reporter

Rock climbing takes members to new heights

Numerous students try to get to the Wellness Center on a regular basis to work out, lift weights, run and manage healthier lifestyles. But what many might be turning a blind eye to is the center’s rock climbing wall, and maybe even a certain club that deserves a second look.

The rock climbing team, a sports club with more than twenty members, started just a couple of years after the Wellness Center was completed. The team meets Sundays at 8 p.m. in the Wellness Center where members host practices and competitions.

President of the rock climbing team Audie Schmid said participants do not need past experience in the sport.

“A lot of people ask this, but no previous experience is required,” Schmid said. “I was a freshman when I started and didn’t know anything about climbing. I just stuck with it and here I am.”

The club charges a $5 admission fee and asks its members to help fundraise at events to support the team for competitions.

The rock climbing team is part of the Collegiate Climbing Series, a national spring competition in which club members compete with schools across the Midwest. SDSU’s rock climbing team placed first in three spring competitions. 

When it comes to these competitions, it’s important to remember that rock climbing is a sport of endurance and strategy, rather than sheer agility. Participants are largely graded on the way they get to the top of the wall and how many times they are forced off of it, rather than the time it takes to arrive there.

“Whenever you reach that top, you feel great and then you think, ‘Alright, onto the next one. How much more can I push myself?’ You’re always looking for your next best,” said veteran climber Soren Wahlstrom.

Finding that “next best” comes with a great full-body workout according to Schmid.

“There’s a lot of upper body, but you’ve really got to use your legs and it’s a lot of fun. You’re not just moving weights from one place to another,” said Schmid.

Wellness Center staff members also do their best to ensure that everyone coming in for climbing leaves satisfied.

“The staff is always standing by during climbing hours and will check to be sure that the harnesses are fitted right,” Assistant Director of the Wellness Center Shari Landmark said. “Our staff is really passionate about what they do and safety is number one.”

With over 1,200 climbers per month, Wellness Center employees have to know their rock climbing. But if students don’t, they can always check the Wellness Center webpage, the rock wall Facebook page or come to the center for event and activity times.

For students considering joining the rock climbing team, Wahlstrom has this to say.

“Don’t be afraid to come out and try the rock wall,” Wahlstrom said. “Even if you don’t join, you could find something you really like.”