Campus Climbing Club Combines Cliff Hanging with Camaraderie
While ground level is normally the most comfortable state of altitude, there is a group of UA students who feel most at ease when they are hanging on to three inches of rock suspended high into the air as their stomachs flip at the thought of dropping.
Founded in May 2012, the Arkansas Climbing Club has 30 members who practice their enthusiasm of climbing.
It’s hard to meet people who share the same passion of climbing, and some of my friends showed me the ropes, which is how the idea of creating a club for climbing began, said Nick Stoddart, senior biological engineering major and founding president of the Arkansas Climbers Club.
Many people find something to get involved in during college and I want everyone to get psyched about climbing, Stoddart said.
There are meetings once a month and the RSO posts on their Facebook wall at www.facebook.com/ArkansasClimbingClub when they are heading out to the OCC to climb the rock wall. Those interested in joining can just show up when at the same time the Arkansas Climbers are at the OCC or email the RSO at email@example.com.
While over half of the Arkansas Climbing Club are skilled at ascending the rock wall, those with new interest can be mentored by senior ACC members.
It’s really great to see people putting work into improving their climbing, Stoddart said. Many of the more experienced members help those who are just beginning how to master the rock wall.
The RSO enjoys the indoor bouldering and rock wall, but they also enjoy climbing under the Arkansas sun.
ACC participates in climbing competitions where there are about 350 people gathered to climb at Horseshoe Canyon Ranch, in Jasper Arkansas, Stoddart said. We also have gone to the Red River course in Kentucky where there is about 90 feet of rope climbing to relish.
On those lazy Sundays it can be difficult to find motivation to be productive, but the ACC allows members to inspire others to go out and participate in their
“The best part about being a part of ACC is getting to hang out with friends pretty much every weekend,” said Michael Small, sophomore mechanical engineering major. “The club makes it really easy to get a group of people together to go climbing at a moment’s notice. I have been sitting on my couch when someone posts that they want to get a quick bouldering session in, and, less than 15 minutes later, we were getting out of the car and onto
The idea of free falling may not be the most comforting thought to beginning climbers, but even the expert members have their moments of fear.
Pretty much every time I have go sport climbing with someone from the club I take one or two good size falls of about ten to fifteen feet on the rope, Small said. “Its a bit unnerving when you know you are about to blow off the wall, but as soon as it happens its an awesome adrenaline rush.”
Even when the ACC are not hanging from a rock twenty feet from the ground, they are still on the subject of their adventurous sport.
“All those big falls really build trust and some strong friendships,” Small said. “A bunch of us sometimes get together during the week and watch climbing movies to help get psyched for the next climbing trip.”
The commonality of climbing has quickly allowed its members to create lasting bonds that go beyond the ropes course.
The ACC is a very close-knit community, said Tyler Casey, sophomore geography major. Casey said everybody is close to one another, and that although the club is relatively new and everybody has yet to meet each other, the club is still very friendly to all.
With tests, projects and essays, college life is full of stress, but the ACC allows for an outlet as climbers increase their height off the ground while easing the anxiety of schoolwork.
William Putman, senior biological engineering major, said he loves seeing new people get excited about climbing. He said the club is an excellent resource for those who are new to climbing, familiar with it or very good at it. We have the most talent and knowledge about rock climbing in the state.