Bouldering Babes: RAWC Wall hosts ladies climb night

By Allison Jarboe, Features Editor

The OBU Recreation and Wellness Center (RAWC) provides a variety of physical activities that offer a fun experience for students, faculty and staff.

The RAWC’s rock wall often hosts events for children, staff and students, as well as classes and competitions to enrourage physical activity.

7 p.m. Thursday, April 20, the rock wall will be hosting “Bouldering Babes,” a ladies-only climb night.

The event will include snacks, music and climbing tips and tricks.

Climbing has grown in popularity over the past few years at OBU.

“When I started to climb, very few girls climbed,” senior interdisciplinary and rock staff member, Beth Clark said. “Upon arriving at OBU, I had little to no athletic ability and would feel extremely self-conscious when climbing.”

Clark said that often there would only be guys at the wall who seemed to already be skilled climbers and were unintentionally intimidating.

“Because of this, I would seek to climb by myself or only with girls,” Clark said.

Clark’s story of growth and persistence as a climber began to inspire other female students, encouraging more girls to go climb.

Clark was a Tri-W during welcome week and introduced new female students to climbing.

“Right off the bat, she got me sort of interested in the idea of climbing at the wall at OBU,” freshman art major, Josie Edgar said.

“I only climbed a few times last semester, but I decided to sign up for the intro class for the spring. I started climbing a lot more once I was in the class, and it got to the point that I was going three to four times a week.”

During Clark’s freshman year when she first began climbing, some of the girls at the wall created “Girls Climb Night,” that occurred every Monday night.

“Having a time specifically set aside for only girls to climb allowed for many of us to band together and try harder climbs than normal,” Clark said.

“Suddenly I felt motivated and began to set goals for myself. These girls were supportive and encouraging.”

The attempt at a weekly climbing time became impractical with conflicting schedules. The weekly climb was eventually canceled.   

“But neither the confidence I gained nor the idea itself left me,” Clark said.

Clark has now worked at the Wall for three years.

“As more girls have been coming to the rock wall lately, I wanted to share my experience with them,” Clark said. “I want to re-introduce the girls climb event in a special way to help encourage them in their excitement of the sport.”

This past semester, Edgar began actively working on her first climbing routes and started trying out new moves.

“Beth (Clark) has encouraged me all the way through,” she said.

“Climbing may at first seem like an individualistic sport, but I’ve realized more and more that you have to depend on others and learn from each other as you climb.”

Edgar emphasized that encouragement is a crucial part of the sport.

“As I’ve learned more and grown as I climber, I’ve learned more about myself and my faith as well,” Edgar said.

“The harder I push myself, the more that my body wants to quit and the more frustrated I get sometimes.”

Climbing can reflect real life struggles.  When struggling to climb up the rock wall, it can reflect the difficulty of handeling real life situations.

“Repeatedly, I have heard my Savior whisper to me in the midst of my frustrations that this, too, is to be for His glory,” Edgar said.

Starting up the girls-only climbing event, Clark hopes that the girls climb night will become a more frequent event.

“Climbing is a simple, fun way to stay active and empower students push themselves to new limits,” Clark said.

While Edgar had intentions of attending the event on April 20th, she recently sprained her ankle and is in a boot.

“That’s not stopping me from going to encourage others,” Edgar said. “I’ll learn from others, and enjoy the climbing community that is budding at our school.”

Edgar said that in her journey as a new climber, she has had to learn to strive for excellence and push herself.

“Excellence honors God and inspires others,” she said.

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