Climbing club performs well at collegiate competition

By Chelsea Weeks, Assistant Features Editor

There are those who try to figuratively move mountains and those who literally climb over them.

OBU climbers practice at the RAWC. / Alena Blakley, The Bison 

Six climbers from OBU’s climbing club competed at the Oklahoma State Games hosted by Climb UP in Norman, Jan. 28.

“This was actually the very first time our team, as well as the other teams, competed as such [at a bouldering competition],” senior elementary education Beth Clark said.

“Usually we’ll go together but don’t get to score together. Every collegiate competitor scored individually in the Adult Session,” she said.“Then, if they were the top collegiate climber in their category they would earn 90 points for their team,” Clark said.

“The next top scoring in the category would earn 60 points. Our team not only individually scored well, but had more people than the others.”

Jessica Scott, senior interdisciplinary – cross-cultural ministry, exercise science, and photography major, who has been climbing since junior high and placed third in the in intermediate women’s section of the competition, gave insight on how the competition they attended worked.

“Each competition is a little different,” Scott said.

“The one we recently went to at Climb Up in Norman was a bouldering competition that was by a point system. We have two-and-a-half hours to climb whatever we wanted. Each route had a point value depending on its difficulty level,” she said.

“We could attempt the routes as many times as we needed to without the attempts counting against; the attempts only come into effect if there is a tie,” she said.

“In the end, we are ranked by our top five scores. The categories are broken into men’s and women’s beginner, intermediate and advanced, in addition to a youth and master’s (older adults) categories,” Scott said.

After attending this competition, Scott described her favorite aspect of competing.

“My favorite thing about competitions is the chance to climb all new routes,” Scott said.

“I also love watching different climbers to see their techniques and abilities.”

Dr. Cannan Crane, MFT program director/associate professor of psychology, is the faculty sponsor of the climbing club, and he said he enjoys that role.

“I love that we have a focus for improving our climbing community at OBU,” Crane said. 

“We have a great facility and getting to watch students be introduced to the finer points of climbing as a sport, technique and lifestyle is especially exciting,” he said.

“The competition aspect has really developed over the past two years and our climbers have placed really well and won some competitions.”

OBU’s climbing club was established in 2015 with the help of the Outdoor Adventure Club.

There are currently 13 members in the climbing club; they meet every Tuesday at seven and are constantly looking for new members.

“Whether you have been climbing for years or have never touched the wall and want to try something new, we love adding climbers of all levels of ability who want to get better,” Clark said.

“No one is forced to compete, but we strive to be a community that can serve Christ and build each other up–the wall gives plenty of opportunities to challenge one another.”

The climbing club is intent on achieving several goals. 

“[We hope to] promote the sport of climbing and facilitate training/education opportunities so that beginning climbers enter in to the sport with safe and sound practices,” Crane said.

Some climbers discussed what components of the club drew them to participate.

“My favorite aspect of the climbing club is hanging out with a bunch of people, who I may not have met otherwise, doing something we all love,” Scott said.

“Everybody is super encouraging and fun to be around.”

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