Rec Center offers free rock climbing at ladies’ night

Amanda Klitsch

Free and fun are two words you don’t often hear associated with exercise. For ladies, the Student Recreation and Wellness Center is changing that one Thursday night at a time.

Every Thursday for the past year, the Adventure Center at the rec has been hosting Ladies’ Night at the rock wall. The event offers free climbing for women from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

“It’s a male dominated sport,” said Chris Hendricks, graduate assistant for the Adventure Center. “We have Ladies’ Night to try and get more women climbers, and it gives them a chance to try it out.”

Hendricks said only about 30 percent of memberships to the rock wall are women. Graduate student Olena Lopatina is one of them.

“I came to try it out at first and really liked it,” said Lopatina. “It’s something new and exciting and really different.”

The Ladies’ Night event includes the climbing harness and two trial climbs for women. Climbing shoes are $2 to rent, but are not required to participate.

Rock climbing is no longer just an extreme sport meant for thrill seekers. The use of indoor walls has over time evolved the sport into a mainstream workout.

“Rock climbing really works out every muscle in your body, and it can be great cardio and strength training at the same time,” Hendricks said. “Beginner climbers really feel it working their forearms because they tend to grip the rock, but the more you do it, the more you realize how much it works your legs and core.”

Hendricks said that each week anywhere from 10 to 20 girls attend the free climbing event to try out the wall, many for the first time.

“Most girls think they won’t be able to do it when they first try it out,” he said. “Then, after they reach the top of the wall and come down, they realize how far they just climbed and get really excited.”

He said anyone interested in coming for the first time to the event should come to the Adventure Center on the first floor of the SRWC between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Thursday to sign in.

After this first time, experienced women who wish to continue climbing go on to take their safety and skills test, which certifies participants to climb at any time for four months.

Hendricks said he hopes that other women may have this same kind of reaction to the sport.

“I really hope that the Ladies’ Night event introduces a lot of new people to climbing,” he said. “I’d like people to realize that it’s not really competitive but more of a social sport, a lot of the time you even see people just hanging out around the wall talking.”

Contact Student Recreation and Wellness Center reporter Amanda Klitsch at [email protected].