As you all probably know by now, our wonderful university is widely known for its diversity among the student population and maybe even more so in the number of clubs and organizations it offers. Just browsing the getINVOLVED page can consume hours of your time (as you question your entire college experience and sign up for four new clubs). Categories range from social justice clubs such as SCREAM Theater, interest groups such as Muggle Mayhem, and a variety of sports clubs. You are all probably familiar with the larger sports organizations such as women’s and men’s club soccer, club volleyball, club basketball, etc; however, I am here to impart some wisdom on a lesser known, yet equally qualified sport association: The Rutgers Rock Climbing Team!
Founded in 2013 by our incredibly talented President, Anne Kavalerchik, the Rutgers Climbing Team began as a small initiative to bring a fun sport to the Rutgers community. Within the past two years, the club has exponentially grown in membership and has gained serious credibility within regional and national competitions as a team to look out for.
Many of you may now be wondering, “Well what does a rock climbing team even look like and can I join?”
For starters, here is a lovely picture of some climbing members from the competition over this past weekend:
Secondly, the Rutgers Rock Climbing Team is a mixture of both beginner and experienced climbers, and is always open to new members. There are two teams: recreational and competition. Both teams focus extensively on climbing techniques and endurance building exercises, accounting for all experience levels. For more information about practice schedules and getting involved, you can message the Rutgers Climbing Team Facebook page!
I personally began my climbing adventure the beginning of last year, never having set foot on a rock wall. I remember walking into the rock gym for the first time during tryouts, shaking with both fear and nervous excitement. I considered going back to my dorm multiple times, but I soon found myself signing the forms and filling out the waivers. Then it was time to put on my harness. Fumbling through the multiple loops, I finally secured it (with some assistance) and joined the group of people who looked just as confused as I did. In that hour of learning the basic foot techniques and safety precautions, I still had yet to climb the wall; however, in the last 10 minutes, our captain set a small boulder problem for us to complete and I was up first.
It was a pure adrenaline rush.
The moment I climbed onto the wall I felt this surge of confidence that was new to me. I could do this and I could do this well. I felt more comfortable climbing across neon colored rocks than I did in a basketball court, where I spent four seasons playing. In short, I was hooked.
Flash forward a year later and I’m once again staring in awe at a rock wall, but this time it’s in Maple Shade, NJ, at the first competition of the season. I scope out a route that gives no promise of completion, take a deep breath, and begin the ascent: it’s a pure adrenaline rush.
*[After Note]: The Rutgers Climbing Team placed in almost every division at the competition (winning first in both Men’s Advanced & Intermediate and first in Women’s Intermediate!) ALSO, the Rutgers Rock Wall is completely free to all students, regardless of being on the team, Monday-Thursday from 6pm-10pm in the College Ave Gym. Bring a friend or come make some new ones, and climb some pretty rad rocks!