Reaching new heights: Rock Climbing Club connects at weekly meetings

JUSTIN SHERLOCK // THE FLAT HAT

Quickly ascending the rock climbing walls with deceptive ease in the William and Mary College Campus Recreation Center, Rock Climbing Club members enjoy a unique workout and an incredible community. Many club members point out how intensive, vigorous exercise, in tandem with peer support, can help with stress and anxiety.

“Climbing itself as a workout is really good for stressed out students because you have all your friends around cheering you on and you have an intense HIIT workout,” Mia Carboni ’25 said. “It’s like a rush of dopamine once you get to the top of the wall and then come back down and get praised by your friends again.”

Although the Rock Climbing Club may seem intimidating to prospective members, new and veteran members all collaborate together in order to work towards the same goal of ensuring that any College student interested in the activity is able to perform to the best of their ability. their ability. Many longtime members of the club have recalled, despite initial concerns, how great their first experiences with the organization were.

JUSTIN SHERLOCK // THE FLAT HAT

“The climbing community really welcomed me wholeheartedly, I went on a trip with them in my first month and immediately felt like I had a family,” said Erin Ramsey’ 23, president of the Rock Climbing Club. “They put so much emphasis on learning, accessibility and availability, and that’s really what is at the heart of the club. It’s really cool to see that carry on through the generations since I’ve been here.

Although some members of the club practiced climbing long before they entered university, most only really got into it in the last few years.

“I started at a very beginner level and now I’m less of a beginner, and it’s really fun, and it’s fun on every level,” Carboni said.

In fact, band members point to the club’s openness and acceptance of all skill levels as one of their favorite parts.

“People are very supportive and you don’t have to be a great climber, it’s just for if you want to hang out and climb a bit,” said Josep Ocampo ’25. “That’s what I love about it, it’s very inclusive.”

And regardless of their climbing experience, they will always be able to make and create lifelong friendships and bonds through the club. The bonds created in the close-knit club often extend beyond the hours of the organization and become essential parts of a member’s college experience.

JUSTIN SHERLOCK // THE FLAT HAT

“I bonded very quickly with a lot of people at the club and a lot of people who come to climb because it’s such a collaborative sport,” said Will Florentino ’24. “When you need a relay and someone offers you a relay, it’s a chance to meet someone new and make new friends that way, and help each other, give you tips and tricks and maybe you’ll have lunch afterwards.”

These strong friendships can be especially helpful for younger members just starting out in college life, as they allow them to begin their college experience with mentorship from older college students.

“I bonded very quickly with a lot of people at the club and a lot of people who come to climb because it’s such a collaborative sport,” said Will Florentino ’24. “When you need a relay and someone offers you a relay, it’s a chance to meet someone new and make new friends that way, and help each other, give you tips and tricks and maybe you’ll have lunch afterwards.”

“It was really nice to have those older relationships,” Peyton Whirley ’26 said. “It’s just nice to have people in a different circle in addition to freshmen in my classes and people from GGV. They have good advice on the courses they have taken, how to manage work and what other activities to do on campus.

And even if a member feels tired for some reason during a meeting and chooses not to engage much with the climbing wall on a particular day, they are in no way prohibited from establish the excellent relationships for which the club is known.

“A lot of people come here and just talk at club meetings,” Ocampo said of the welcoming and relaxed nature of the organisation.

With all the above mentioned, Rock Climbing Club is not only an enjoyable activity for students, but also a method to make new friends and learn how to succeed in college. With so much the club has to offer its members, the only limit to what a member can get out of it is their level of involvement.

JUSTIN SHERLOCK // THE FLAT HAT

“You get back what you put into it. The people who benefit the most are those who come to meetings and go to social events, but also those who climb,” said Rock Climbing Club vice-president Patrick Doyal ’24. “It’s pretty easy to make a lot of friends out of it.”

For those who have been with the organization for a while, the rewards they have reaped last for their entire time at college.

“Most of my best friends I’ve found in rock climbing, and the people I live with, I found in rock climbing,” Ramsey said. “Everyone is so down to earth.”

Club members are so dedicated and engaged with the club because they see at every meeting what a great experience it is for everyone who shows up.

JUSTIN SHERLOCK // THE FLAT HAT

“Climbing has become that vehicle for everyone, no matter who you are or whatever your background is,” Josh Miner told ’24. “You are able to have a conversation and engage in activity with new people you’ve never met and give them that confidence to assure you or let you know how you should proceed on an itinerary. You can make a connection with someone you wouldn’t have otherwise.

At the end of the day, considering the physical benefits of the club, in addition to the upbeat and laid-back essence of the club, every member had nothing but praise to give.

“There’s really no downside to joining, it’s just such a big community that I really think it’s worth a try if you’re on the fence,” Florentino said.

For all interested students, the College’s Climbing Club meets every Tuesday at 8 p.m. at the climbing wall of the Student Recreation Center.

Virginia F. Goins