The Hidden Gem of the Rec Center

Story and photos by Emma Carlsen

Tucked into the back corner of the Student Recreation and Wellness Center is a hidden gem—our 25-foot tall rock wall. 

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The rock wall is free for students to climb any time while it's open. Friendly staff members are there to help get climbers into their gear and up the wall. 

“It’s always nice to see new fresh-faced people who are super excited to try out the wall,” said Ivy Kerwood, a rock wall staffer.

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After climbers step into their harnesses and shoes, which they can check out for free at the wall’s reception desk, staff members hook them up to the wall’s rope system to make sure no one falls. 

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The bright colors and fun shapes of the rocks on the wall help climbers identify different routes they can take to reach the top. Each route is assigned a number from the Yosemite Decimal System that tells climbers its level of difficulty; the smaller the number, the easier the course. 

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Each route mapped out on the rock wall was created by SRWC staff members and was named by the staff member who created it. 

Staff members give the routes creative names like “Do you know the muffin man,” and “I have helmet hair.” 

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While most users are first-time or novice climbers, some are very enthusiastic about using the wall and often look for other opportunities to climb. Special trips are put together by the SRWC that students can pay to go on and climb as a group in nature. 

To encourage students to use the rock wall, the SRWC challenges students to Belay A Mile. When users climb the wall enough times to add up to a mile during the semester, they’re given a special prize as a reward.