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Sports / Recreation

New rec center rock wall, bouldering cave are the talk of campus

April 1, 2010
By Rommel McClaney

Since its soft opening this past week, the new climbing wall and bouldering area at the recreation center has had long lines and happy climbers. From beginners to experienced climbers, everyone is talking about the new rock wall and bouldering cave.

Unbridled success

John Pearson makes his way up the wall.

Rodney Ley, the assistant director for outdoor programs at CSU, has rightfully deemed the new climbing wall "an unbridled success." If you have visited the newly renovated recreation center, no doubt you have seen the highly popular new area.

While only about 50 students are allowed to actively use the area at one time, the climbing wall and bouldering area will easily see over 350 unique users every day.

"We've collected over 1,000 waivers," says Ley. "It's just exciting."

The rock climbing wall is 36 feet on the lowest side, the west, and 40 feet at its highest. The bouldering area is 55 feet long, ranging from 12 to 14 feet high. Ley measured both of the walls himself.

The floor of the climbing area has 8 inches of padding above 8 inches of concrete. Ley also gives kudos to the architects and administrators to their commitment to making such a great wall for not being climbers.

Lifetime of safe climbing skills

A member of the climbing wall staff trains two students on how to properly secure their belay ropes.

While the bouldering wall is open to all, to climb the rock wall however, you must sign a waiver and be checked off by a climbing staff member. To be checked off, you must go through two types of training: belay training and tie-in training. 

A belayer is a person who stays at the bottom watching the climber and supporting their rope. Tie-in training teaches climbers how to make sure everything is in working order before they climb.
 
Climbing wall staff members try to respectfully micromanage climbers to help give them a lifetime of great climbing skills.

The climbing routes on both walls were created by the staff and range from 5.5 to 5.12, easiest to hardest respectively.

Physical problem solving

Sophomore environmental health major Jeremiah Joyce really enjoys being a part of the climbing wall staff. Joyce describes climbing as an extreme physical activity.

". . . it's physical problem-solving. You have to ask yourself 'How am I going to do this?' It's like a big puzzle."

Alexa Flower scouts out her climbing path. Alexa's belayer, sophomore business major Anthony Martinez, and sister, sophomore communications major Lauren Flower, provide two extra sets of eyes and moral support below her.

While most climbers have described themselves as intermediate, students like sophomore business major Alexa Flower has had a little more experience. When she was younger, Flower competed in middle school climbing competitions. Now older and more experienced, she likes the climbing for fun and encourages everyone to go and try it even if they are new to climbing.

Sam Bouchard, a freshman construction management major, says bouldering beats going and lifting weights like he is use to doing.

"I have a lot of friends that do it," says freshman psychology major Riley Russell . . . "they love it. It's a much more enjoyable workout."

Come down and check it out

Regular hours for the climbing wall are:

  • Sunday thru Friday from 3 to 10:30 p.m.
  • Saturday from 3 to 8 p.m.
  • The bouldering wall is open anytime the rec center is open

Keep on the look out for intramural climbing, climbing classes, and a climbing club. You can also visit the comfy lounge in the Student Rec Center lobby next to the climbing wall for more information.


Contact: Climbing Wall & Outdoor Classes
Phone: (970) 491-1669