Students Welcome to Rock Climb for Free

For the first two weeks of the fall semester students can experience the outdoors in an indoor setting while getting in a good workout. 

Students are welcome to climb the Wall free of charge until Thursday, Sept. 2. The Wall is available Mondays through Wednesdays from 5:30 p.m. to 9:45 p.m., Thursdays 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Sundays 5:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.

Since the Wall has been free to students, the Outdoor Program has seen an increase in interest.

“We went through a three-year decline, Jerome Gabriel, Director of the Outdoor Program said. “Over the past year there’s been an excitement about climbing coming back.”

So far there have been at least 300 students taking advantage of the free climbing experience.

“A couple people already bought memberships even though they don’t need them yet,” Angel McFarland, Office Manager of the Outdoor Program said.

The first event of the year, Late Night at the Rec on Aug. 20, had 130 students climbing the Wall in one night.

Besides the fact that it is free, there are other reasons why students should come climb the Wall.

McFarland said it is a great place to meet new people.

“There may not be people climbing the whole time, because they are talking and meeting people,” McFarland said.

Another reason to climb the 35-foot wall is to get a good workout.

“Instead of doing bench press, go climb a rock,” Dan Mattina, junior and Outdoor Program Student Supervisor said.

Mattina uses rock climbing as part of his exercise regime after he runs around the track.

On top of getting a workout in, students can also utilize the Wall as a means to eliminate stress from their busy class schedules.

While the Wall does have some challenges, anyone can do it.

Gabriel said the Wall has adaptive climbing system rentals for those with disabilities, which local disability agencies have used.

“We’re the only place in Ohio with adaptive climbing,” McFarland said.

Starting September 5, students can purchase a pass to utilize the wall either for $25 per semester or $45 for the year.

If students did not get a chance to utilize the two-week free sessions and they have never climbed the wall before they can still receive a one-day free pass. After that, a one-day pass is $3. The Outdoor Program also allows two-hour rentals for groups of 15 for $125, which includes all 15 participants’ harnesses and two staff members. They also offer birthday parties and team-building activities.

The staff of the Rock Wall enjoys climbing as much as the students.

“Everyone is really friendly,” McFarland said. “[The Rock Wall] has its own entity in the Recreation Center.”

Mattina also enjoys the Rock Wall because of the community atmosphere.

Gabriel’s enjoys creating challenging routes for the students, but not too difficult so the students can master them eventually.

While the free sessions are available for a limited time, students are encouraged to take advantage of the facility and use it to their own benefit all semester long.