The odor of chalk and the musky scent of hard work constantly waft out of the U’s climbing gym at the Student Life Center. All around people test their limits on difficult routes as they pull themselves higher and make complex maneuvers using plastic hand and foot holds.
Now students at the U have the opportunity to be challenged by climbers other than themselves. In 2015, a couple of students started a competitive rock climbing club to represent the U. This year the club will hold tryouts Sept. 14, 15 and 16 to form their second team.
“The climbing team consists of students who are enthusiastic, motivated and love everything climbing,” said team manager and founder Casey Elliott. “The community that is built is one that fosters teamwork and friendship through a competitive setting.”
“A climber’s skill level at the beginning of the year isn’t important, as the focus will be on improvement and development throughout the year,” said Elliott. Once on the team, climbers will be able to choose between three different disciplines — bouldering, sport and speed.
The club is only one year old, but the captains have said the team is already setting their sights on sending more athletes to national and international competitions. This year four members of the team will represent the U at the first ever Collegiate Climbing Series World Competition in Shanghai, China.
The team is working on increasing the amount of women on its roster. Last year’s team primarily consisted of men despite its co-ed status. This year there will be women team captains and a greater emphasis on diversity both in skill level and background.
“We want to encourage as many people to come to tryouts as possible,” Elliott said. “If you make the team, expect to be committed to the U, competition and a community of fantastic people.”