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Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

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BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Climbing exercise for break

Use of the 37-foot rock climbing wall located at the Student Recreation Center has increased this semester as students begin to realize the physical benefits associated with climbing.

In talking to the staff that run the climbing wall, the number of climbers have significantly increased, said Bryan Cavins, director for Outdoor Programs.

“We call it the fabulous 40 days of February because everybody wants to get prepped and ready for spring break to look their best,” he said. “Having that much influx at the rec helps, but I do think more people are climbing and they’re finding it to be another avenue to work out.”

Individuals who are interested can purchase a climbing pass, but are required to first attend a two-hour class to learn basic climbing technique such as tying knots, the proper way to wear the harness and check equipment, Cavins said.

“Individuals then demonstrate what they’ve learned and we check them off,” he said. “Some people don’t always pick it up at first, but you can come as many times as it takes.”

If purchased at the start of each semester, it costs $20 and allows an unlimited number of climbs.

And students can also purchase a pass for $35 that is good from fall semester through the end of spring semester, Cavins said.

“If you want to learn how to climb inexpensively and continue to climb and get into it, our gym is a great opportunity to do that,” he said. “It’s a different type of fitness because you’re relying on your strength to actually do something. You’re not just pushing iron around or pushing water around or running.”

University sophomore Sarah Palumbo began climbing last year and now spends at least two days a week at the wall.

“It is exercise, but it relieves stress and helps me get away from everything,” she said.

Palumbo is driven by the challenges it takes to climb the wall and complete different routes. The routes are marked by different colors of tape and are meant to test the skills of the climber.

“It challenges you once you do one route to want to do something better,” she said.

The staff change the routes at least twice a week so that avid climbers can reach new levels of accomplishment each time they climb, Cavins said.

“It’s not only about physical movement, it’s about problem solving and challenging yourself to get past it,” he said. “It’s not all about just monkey climbing moving right leg, left leg straight up the wall.”

Climbing is a unique sport, Cavins said, but there is a level of psychological intimidation that deters some students from even attempting to climb.

“The biggest challenge is the mental barrier,” he said. “Once you get used to climbing the wall, the height doesn’t impact you anymore.”

It also takes time for people to completely invest their trust in the equipment.

Cavins stressed the fact that the staff thoroughly inspects between two and three pieces of equipment per shift.

“The beauty about climbing equipment is that it is built to last and be safe,” Cavins said.

Climbing has almost become part of a daily routine for University senior Doug Ryan, who visits the wall between three and four times a week. Ryan has learned to trust the equipment and said the staff is always willing to help.

The wall can be used as a way to relieve stress and to clear your mind, Ryan said.

“It’s a fun workout and you can challenge yourself and your mind,” he said. “You can make it very strenuous and I try to advance every time.”

The climbing wall presents the opportunity for to students to learn a skill that is not often tapped into, Cavins said.

“It’s something you can easily get involved with and learn about,” he said. “Once you’ve learned how to climb, nobody can take that skill away from you. It’s something you can pick up and take with you.”

To be challenged and not make it every time teaches people that success isn’t a result of every attempt, Cavins said.

“To get used to not being able to do what you want to do and overcome that challenge and accomplish it is a fun thing about climbing,” he said. The climbing wall is open Monday through Wednesday from 4:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. and on Thursdays from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

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