‘Everyone Understands’ at UC Climbing Facility | Features

Staying active is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Especially with the winter months approaching, many students may find it difficult to think of indoor activities that increase their heart rate.

Climbing insert, which improves strength, grip and balance. Plus, it’s a great activity to organize with friends. Climbing pushes you to find strength beyond your limits, increasing your confidence in all aspects, climbers said. Although rock climbing may seem difficult and unrealistic for students, there are several ways to get involved in rock climbing on campus that don’t require any prior experience.

Tucked away in the University of Cincinnati (UC) Campus Recreational Center (CRC) is a rock climbing facility open to students who can learn or practice their rock climbing skills. Last year, CRC was recognized as the best climbing gym in Cincinnati by CityBeat.

To use the wall, climbers must sign a safety waiver and review the precautions. From there, visitors are given specially designed climbing shoes with a thick layer of hard rubber to ensure they don’t slip off small holds. Then students have the freedom to have fun and experiment with their climbing.

Climbing wall staff assist with day-to-day wall operations, maintaining a safe climbing environment, selling merchandise and scheduling class registrations. To work on the wall, staff members must receive belaying certifications, which means they can attach climbers to a harness and support them from below as they climb.

The CRC also offers belay certifications for members, so students can help each other without depending on staff whenever they want to climb. Belaying is used in the top rope, a more advanced endurance-based form of climbing where students can climb up to 40 feet while being supported by a rope held down by the belayer.

For those not ready to take on a more advanced climb, CRC also offers a bouldering wall that allows visitors to climb 10 feet without a harness. Describing the difference between rope and bouldering, Deyer Graffice, a climbing wall manager at CRC, said it was like “the difference between a sprint and a two-mile run”.

The climbing wall also offers climbers and staff members a chance to cultivate a sense of community. “It’s a great way to reach different groups on campus, find diversity and engage people,” said Amber Green, Facilities Operations Coordinator at CRC.

The many events and classes demonstrate the importance of community in the world of climbing that CRC hosts, including Climbing 101, Belay Clinic, Mile High Club, UC Climbing Team and a bouldering competition. Students interested in rock climbing can also turn to the Mountaineering Club, a UC organization that brings together people who love all things outdoors.

Kayla Conrad, a fourth-year neuroscience student at the Mountaineering Club, said she joined the club to “meet more people who have the same interests as me, like rock climbing, the outdoors, and hiking.” According to Conrad, the club organizes several hikes and climbing trips throughout the year, as well as other fun activities, some of which take place at the CRC climbing wall.

According to CRC staff, it’s this sense of community that rock climbing offers everyone, whether beginners or advanced, that makes it such an interesting activity. “Everyone gets it,” said Nick Schneider, CRC climbing wall manager. “And you have great staff to help you figure things out too.”

Virginia F. Goins