Club Climbing a blend of mind and matter

13 November 2018

Brian Blevins

[email protected]

John Carey strolls across UCCS’ main campus on the weekdays, bouncing between classes and the Math Center, where he works. He is a biomedical science major, pursuing a bio-chem minor and preparing for an approaching Dec. 14 graduation.

Carey is also the vice president of UCCS Club Climbing, where he blends problem solving with feats of strength and muscular endurance.

“It’s not always as simple as just strength or just becoming more fit,” Cary said about rock climbing. “Sometimes, it comes from really small minutia in your changes to footwork or technique or different ways of approaching a boulder problem.”

On any given Friday, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Carey and his friends — namely Joe Leach, the team’s president — congregate at the Springs Climbing Center (SCC), an indoor climbing gym located on Northpark Drive, just off of Garden of the Gods Road, just one mile west of UCCS and near I-25. Carey and friends work together to conquer the various bouldering courses and other challenges the gym has to offer.

“Last time,” Carey said, “I think we climbed until eight and then we all got on the rings and did that until about nine. You’re exhausted at the end, but it’s a really good workout for sure.”

Carey said that he and the group welcome anyone who is even remotely interested, and the group is composed of climbers of all skill levels. All they ask is that newcomers are open to trying something new.

The mood of the club is notably relaxed, Carey said. It is different from a regular sports team, where athletes show up to practice and run drills. The club is a more laid-back sort of team, with few competitive people and an emphasis on simply climbing for fun and meeting new people.

With only three Fridays left in the fall semester, students will have to wait until January to participate if they miss out. Carey and Leach have plans to continue doing what they have been in the Spring, keeping the door open for interested students to participate, with a possibility of an expanded schedule, and even a competition against the climbing club of the Air Force Academy.

Leach has been in contact with representatives of the Air Force climbing club, according to Carey. The UCCS club plans host a competition between the two clubs sometime in the spring semester to “see which club turns out on top,” as Carey put it. The competition would happen at SCC.

Club Climbing will have climb nights and instruction on Wednesdays in the S.O.L.E Center at the Gallogly Recreation and Wellness Center on campus in the spring. The instruction will help develop skills for outdoor climbing that is more advanced than bouldering.

If the plan comes together, these nights would be structured more as workshops than as free climb nights.

For newcomers, Carey recommends finding some gear to use, though renting at SCC is possible.

“Pretty much all you need at this point would be a pair of climbing shoes,” Carey said, since the group’s focus at SCC is on bouldering, which does not involve ropes or harnesses. Carey added that new climbers should be “open to just trying out a route and just seeing how you feel about it. Feel free to ask any questions on how to improve.”

Anyone with questions is welcome to contact Carey at [email protected].