Getting into some activities can be intimidating, especially when it seems like everyone’s already an expert. This feeling is compounded when it also looks like a really intense activity, something you could die doing. Clubs are a great way to meet people with similar interests and wide ranges of skill, and there are a huge number of them on campus. This semester, the U will officially have a climbing club. Some might be shocked to learn the University of Utah hasn’t had a climbing club, but luckily, it’s been finally rectified.
Emma Wood, one of the club’s founders, is excited about bringing people together for climbing. She says that the club is “for people who are interested in climbing, but don’t necessarily want to compete or think they’re quite at the level where they’re ready to compete yet. Of course, we welcome climbers of any ability, so that means anyone from the very beginner climber to people who’ve been to nationals. It’s basically just an opportunity for people invested in climbing to connect and learn from each other.” Emma is a history major and member of the U’s climbing team, and she’s also an EMT, rock-climbing coach and a veteran climber.
People who are new to Utah, even if they have climbing experience, can have a tough time finding people with transportation, the right gear, or even just climbing partners in general. The U’s climbing club hopes to be a tool for students in all those areas and more.
“We’re still starting off as a club, which has given us an exciting chance to make connections with businesses and gyms in the area. We’ve talked to a couple energy drink companies who have agreed to deals with us. We offer a chance to build community, to really teach people about climbing, one of the other founders and I, are both on the competitive climbing team at the University of Utah and we’ve both coached rock climbing as well. So, it gives us a lot of opportunities to share that experience with others.”
Important differences between the club and team include a lack of tryouts; you can climb at any level to join. There also won’t be required practices, but there will be times when the club meets up at the Summit gym at the U, or Momentum and the Front. “There’s a very wide range of skill levels. Just at our first meeting there were people who had never climbed, and those who had done pretty well on the competition circuit in the United States.”
Emma believes that the climbing club will be a great place to begin or progress your climbing with a friendly and supportive community, that exists not only at the university but in the sport around the world.
Finally, she says to those just gaining interest in the sport, “Have fun with it, don’t worry about how well you’re climbing. Realize it takes a long time to get really good at climbing and also take care of your body, it’s a physically intensive sport you got to make sure you’re stretching and using the right technique.”