Climbing contest a first for Midwest

John Green

For some athletes, the competitive nature of the game is what keeps them engaged in their sport.  Others seem to thrive on the camaraderie and team nature of athletics.  But for some, their motives are altogether unique.

“I don’t know for sure why I do it. I guess I just love the fear,” senior rock climber Taylor Lais said.

The fear factor will be somewhat diminished this Saturday, Feb. 11 as the newly founded SDSU climbing team competes in the “Spring Cling” climbing competition at the Wellness Center climbing wall at 11 a.m., but anticipation for the event could not be higher.

“It’s always exciting”, senior climber John Andersen said.  “Any time you go from a casual pastime to something more competitive, it gets pretty intense.”

For many of SDSU’s climbers, rock climbing is a relatively new exhibition. Lais used to compete in motor cross, until a lack of riding areas forced him to pursue other forms of entertainment  his freshman year.  Andersen was introduced to climbing by a friend just two years ago.  In that time, members of the SDSU club team have climbed all over the U.S., in places such as the world famous Hueco Tanks in west Texas and the Red River Gorge in Kentucky.

Experiences such as these will be sure to aid the team from SDSU in Saturday’s competition, as other climbers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of Northern Iowa, and the University of Nebraska-Omaha will be trying to establish themselves as the region’s best.

The “Spring Cling” is the first collegiate rock climbing competition to be held in the Midwest, and it will also mark the first time SDSU will field a team of climbers.  In the event, the top three climbers on both the men’s and women’s side will be scored for points.  The scoring of events does not depend on the time it takes a climber to finish their route, but rather on the level of difficulty of their route and the attempts used to successfully climb the given route.

The climb has been organized by the SDSU rock wall employees, and is sponsored by the SDSU climbing team.  Due to the fact that it could be considered an unfair advantage if any team members who are also employees climbed, SDSU will be without some members of their team for this meet.

“It’s a little unclear how we’ll do in this meet because we’ll be missing some people, but the outlook for the future is fantastic,” Andersen said.

The climbers will be trying to improve upon their own skills in preparation for other competitions, but more importantly, they’ll be there for the excitement of the sport they love.

“More often than not, the best climber is the one having the most fun,” Andersen said.  “I could do this my whole life.”