The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Campus climbers escape the plains, work out

By Brian Silberberg

For Grinnellians looking for a unique way to get exercise, the climbing and bouldering walls located in the basement of the Charles Benson Bear ’39 Recreation and Athletic Center provide a great opportunity. The new wall, which replaces the climbing facilities in the recently demolished PEC, is a sleeker and more up-to-date model that should excite any climber at Grinnell who has regrets about going to school in the flat Midwest.

Climbing Wall leader Ruth Campbell \’11 practices on the Bear Recreation Center bouldering wall on Wednesday afternoon – Ben Brewer

“The old one was really a lot older—you could tell it had been made a long time ago, when the PEC was first built. And it was nice because it had all these memories and it was just like this good bond of people,” said Climbing Wall Manager Ruth Campbell ’11. “But this new wall is a lot better as far as actually climbing goes”

Campbell, who is from mountainous Colorado and uses the walls to satisfy her childhood passion for climbing while here in Iowa, finds that the facilities serve as a good place to start for any prospective climbers.

“I’ve actually known quite a few climbers who have started climbing in Grinnell at the climbing wall and have gone on to that being their sport,” she said.

The walls may not have such success convincing the bulk of the Grinnell populace to become ardent climbers, but there are a host of different climbing options available to Grinnellians who are interested.

“So there’s four different ways you can climb the wall. There’s bouldering which is climbing without ropes, there’s top rope climbing, which is where the rope is at the top and you’re belayed, there’s auto belay where you don’t need a partner you just climb, and lead climbing which is probably the most advanced form of climbing,” Campbell said.

For anyone interested in getting involved with the climbing wall, there is a requirement to obtain proper certification, which, according to Campbell, is not at all difficult.

“Generally what you need to know for just basic belay certification can be reduced to a half-hour depending on how busy it is,” Campbell said.

There is a $15 fee to take the training sessions, although it is free for all members of GORP. Sessions are held every Monday from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m.

Student reactions to the new climbing facilities have so far been positive.

“I really appreciate the different sort of exercise the facilities provide. I hadn’t really climbed before and never would have expected that the chance to try it would come in Iowa of all places,” said Will Jackson ’13.

While the bouldering wall is always open to the public, the climbing wall has more specific hours, with open climbs from 7 – 9 p.m. on Mondays, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday through Friday, and 2 – 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

For any climbers intent on a less contained climbing experience, there is the ice climbing trip on Feb. 19 which goes to Cedar Falls to climb an ice covered silo, one of a collection of annual outdoor climbing trips. Any Grinnellian sick of the continuous horizontal stretch that is the Midwest and in search of a chance to get a little higher should look no further than the facilities and the activities the school supplies.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *