North Texas Daily

Climbing club optimistic of future following debut year

Climbing club optimistic of future following debut year

Climbing club optimistic of future following debut year
April 15
09:27 2014

Jordan Ottaway // Staff Writer

Inside the Pohl Recreation Center at UNT is the 45-foot rock climbing wall that has occupied the space since 2003. It has recently received a lot more attention from the employees who work the wall every day.

The wall, designed by Eldorado Climbing Walls, is a popular attraction at the rec center and gets quite a bit of foot traffic from students who want to try climbing.

Student employees who work with the Outdoor Pursuits program within Recreation Sports got the idea to come together and form a club that would provide a way for students to take their love of climbing by storm and climb at a competitive level. From here, the UNT Climbing Club was born.

“I saw a lot of potential in our climbers at the wall,” psychology senior and outgoing president Lindsay Murray said. “I knew making a team would be a perfect fit so we could all get in some training and have that camaraderie.”

Starting the club

Supervisors of the wall went to Recreation Sports to pitch the idea of starting a climbing club, but were unsure about what response they would get because of a previous failed attempt to start the club.

The first attempt was unsuccessful because the number of people interested was relatively low, but since the number of people who come by the climbing wall on a daily basis has risen to about 50 people each day, Rec Sports seemed optimistic and approved Murray and some of her fellow climbers to have another go at it.

“We already have this amazing climbing wall at the Pohl Rec Center, and for so long it was a missed opportunity that we didn’t have a climbing club,” political science sophomore and incoming club president Collin Wilson said.

Wilson attends the budget meeting to try and vouch for money on the club’s behalf. He said that all the club would need money-wise is entry fees for competitions. Members would take care of transportation and lodging.

“Overall as far as climbing goes, we aren’t too demanding,” Wilson said. “We are a bunch of understanding people.”

As of now the top two ways word gets out is through the club’s Facebook page “UNT CLIMBING TEAM” and by word of mouth, both proving to be effective in drawing in members. Wilson said if the club takes off, they would start to put up flyers around campus, but for now they are sticking to what is working.

“We started at 12 and now we have almost 60 people,” Wilson said. “So I think we are going to keep doing that.”

Training and Competitions

Due to the wall being so busy during the day, the club holds practices from 8 to 10 p.m. on Monday nights after it has closed for regular rec center members.

A standard practice starts with the club gathering together to talk about what has happened in previous practices then going into different exercises like 4×4’s, pyramids and “quiet feet,” which take up most of the time.

“I really like to go over all the exercises before practice and explain exactly what they will focus on,” said business freshman Justin Rodgers, who is the head of training and practices.

For the pyramid exercise, a climber will pick the highest grade, or difficulty, route he or she can climb, which is followed by an easier route before going back up to the hardest one. This is to teach endurance and not let the climber get used to one type of route.

The 4×4 exercise involves climbing each difficulty of route four times, which also helps build endurance. “Quiet feet” teaches technique by learning to be smooth on the rocks and focusing on getting the basics down before moving on to more complex routes.

“The best way to get better at climbing is to climb,” Rodgers said. “I think any of our climbers have the ability to excel.”

When the club competes in the fall and spring semesters, it will compete in the Texas region of the CCS and schools out of state at the national championship.

On average, a team of 10 climbers will go to a competition and four or five universities usually attend. There are two types of competitions held.

Red point competitions are the standard and consist of 40 new routes. The climber will want to pick the five hardest he or she is capable of because each route is graded and given a point value.

In order to get points, the climber has to climb to the top without falling off the wall, and after each route the points are added together for the climber’s total score.

Bigger competitions such as regionals and national championships will hold on-sight style competitions. Here each climber will be put into his or her own category such as female beginning or male advanced.

Unlike red point, there are three or four set routes for each category with two qualifying rounds. The climber is not allowed to see the route beforehand, and is scored based on how far they get or if they make it to the top. From there they advance to semifinals and finals.

Individual scores are added to team scores, which determines the winning team.

Looking forward

During the whole establishing process, Murray has been very pleased with how the club has taken off in such a short amount of time.

“It’s all started naturally,” Murray said. “I started this without anything in mind. I thought it would be fun to try.”

Thinking about the future excites Murray and Wilson because Murray knows that she is leaving the club in good hands, and Wilson can’t wait to take the reins and see where the club goes.

“Now we have something that we can get people engaged in a higher level than just hanging out,” Wilson said. “The aspect of climbing at a competitive level.”

Feature photo: Political Science Sophomore Collin Wilson climbs to the top of the Pohl Recreation Center rock wall. Photo by Byron Thompson / Intern Photographer 

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