Photo Courtesy of Adam Fenster

Founded in 2011, the UR Rock Climbing Club promotes the sport of rock climbing and establishes a community of people who engage in and appreciate the sport.

While reasons for joining the club might vary among the members, they do admit sharing a similar love and enthusiasm for this unconventional sport.

“I got really into rock climbing before coming to college, and was looking for a way to get connected to the student body through my greatest passion,” sophomore and current Rock Climbing Club President Miriam Grigsby said.

However Sophomore Keith Wiley, had different reasons for joining–“ I joined the Rock Climbing Club because I have a good friend in the club who got me into rock climbing last year,” Wiley said. “Climbing is also a very social activity, so a club setting allows me to get to know people at school who I can climb with.”

The club welcomes everyone who has an interest for the sport, even if they don’t have previous background in rock climbing.

According to freshman and current business manager of the club Talia Jaffe, who has been climbing for the past eight years,  “It was really important for me to find a school that had a climbing club or was involved in climbing in some capacity.” She added that “the University of Rochester is registered through U.S Climbing, so it technically has a collegiate climbing team.”

There are many in the club who tried the sport for the first time through the club and fell in love with it.

Freshman Cory Kim said that he initially joined the Rock Climbing Club because of two reasons. “I had injured myself and was not able to continue playing water polo, so I was looking for another hobby to pick up, and because my friend [Freshman Thomas Pinella] sounded very enthusiastic about climbing, so much that I had to try it.”

The club does not have normal weekly meetings, but instead just an initial meeting to get members signed up to Red Barn at RIT. After that, members are free to go climbing whenever they want. Even though the club works more in an individual fashion, the members are still very connected.

“The club is really cool because it is a small group of people who are really interested in the same thing. the sport,” he said.

The club has also been trying to get a rock climbing wall at UR,  as it is really hard for someone who doesn’t have a car to go over to RIT. “The only way I can go climbing is if someone else happens to go at a time that works with my schedule,” Jaffe said.

Jaffe has been working at getting a wall at the University for quite a while now.

“I actually started working on getting a climbing wall built before the Impact site even was a thing.” With the SA finally passing the resolution for a rock climbing wall this Monday, there seems to be hope for a wall in the near future.

“I hope that the University sponsor[s] our club for outdoor activities so that we can have club gear for outdoor trips so that individual members don’t always have to buy it, and it’s not lost when those members graduate,” Wiley said.

The club also has plans to have club-sponsored outdoor trips.

“It’s a long, arduous process, but hopefully it will happen by the end of this next year,” Grigsby said. Jaffe added, “My goal for the future is that there will be regular practices, and a wall would enable us to build a climbing team that can compete instead of being a group of people that go recreationally.”

For this passionate group of individuals, rock climbing is a lot more than a sport.

“The best thing about rock climbing is the opportunity to move in ways that aren’t possible in other activities,” Wiley said.

For Pinella, rock climbing is the process of trying to figure out how to solve a problem, or “the feeling of finally finishing a problem after spending weeks working on it.” His favorite thing about rock climbing is introducing new climbers to climbing “because everyone ends up loving it.”

To Jaffe, “Climbing is a really unique sport because it’s competitive only with yourself. Even in competitions, the only other person you are really trying to beat is your previous best.”

She added, “the least outdoorsy person can be transformed into the wildlife enthusiast simply by growing [an] interest in climbing. It takes you to extraordinary places and introduces you to unforgettable people. Climbing isn’t a sport or a hobby; it’s a way of life.”

Poddar is a member of the class of 2018.

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