By VERONICA REARDON
Your Weekend Columnist
If you were in the Rec Center at all this week, you may have wondered what was going on with the climbing wall. Walking by, your thoughts may have been along the lines of Good God, what happened? or Is it broken? Well! It was not broken! The wall was preparing for the climbing competition, which happened this past Sunday. It is an annual event that usually happens in December (but it was earlier this year).
The competition was open to the public and attended mainly by undergrads and grad students from University of Maryland Baltimore County, University of Maryland College Park (UMD), Towson University, Loyola University and Hopkins. There were some Georgetown University kids there as well and some from York College of Pennsylvania. The atmosphere was more relaxed than in previous years; Everyone was there to hang out and climb some new routes. Everyone was extremely friendly and it was fun just to be there to watch amazing climbers do their thing.
When you enter, you are given a scorecard. Open climbing takes up the majority of the competition where you can climb anything you like depending on which category you want to be entered into. To be considered part of a category, you have to be able to climb three climbs in that category, which can be quite difficult.
There is actually an entire series of climbing competitions, of which the Hopkins competition was just one. Victories and points earned in each competition are totaled to determine the winner of the series. The previous competition was held at UMD’s outdoor climbing wall.
Depending on funding and the ability of the wall managers to find sponsors, the competitions have various prizes. The competition was giving away harnesses and other gear to winners, and this one gave away rope bags, multi-tools and other fun things. In the past we gave out gift cards to local businesses, but no one seemed to take them since the winners aren’t usually Hopkins students. It would be great to see a larger turnout of Hopkins students next year as well as those from other schools! Hopkins also has a bouldering competition, which is shorter climbs without ropes and harnesses, in the spring for climbers of all levels.
The next competition in the series is at Loyola this upcoming weekend. It has two different open climbing sections so more climbers can participate and costs $25 to register. If you go as part of the Rockhoppers, Hopkins’ climbing team, they will be able to help pay for registration! Proceeds from the competition will go to GEDCO, a Baltimore community development program. There will also be more competitions next year. I would highly encourage anyone who’s ever wanted to try climbing to go try it, meet other climbers and have a good time!