Rock climbing competition draws crowd

Carolyn Drummond

Indoor climbers from six universities participate in event

View photos of the bouldering competition.

Climbers faced many problems – 57 in fact – at the University Bouldering Series Competition at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center Saturday.

“Problem” is the term for a specific route that competitors travel up the climbing wall.

The UBS is a regional group that brings together students from six universities during the spring semester to compete in bouldering, a type of rock climbing.

“Bouldering is the new fad,” said Ryan McElwain, indoor climbing wall supervisor. “You can not be extremely strong, but if you’re smart with technique, you can be a great climber.”

Forty-seven climbers participated representing each school in the UBS: Kent State, The University of Akron, Youngstown State University, West Virginia University, University of Pittsburgh and Slippery Rock University.

The cost was $15 per person, and everyone was welcome, regardless of school affiliation.

Many competitors were from UBS schools, but other local climbers participated as well. One stand-out was 9-year-old Jackson Tankersley.

“I started climbing trees and then went to rocks,” Tankersley said. “Nobody thought I could do it.”

Tankersley earned the top youth climber award. The top men and women climbers in advanced, intermediate and recreational levels also received awards.

Climbers received points based on which problems they tried and how many attempts they needed to solve the problem. Black Diamond, Evolv and Nicros, rock climbing retailers, provided prizes to top climbers.

The competition included new routes on the climbing wall. Senior justice studies major Bennett McKinnon was happy to try something new.

“It’s nice to see a complete change-up of problems,” McKinnon said. “It was nice to work on something different than what I’m used to.”

McKinnon had reconstructive surgery on his knee in November after slipping from the climbing wall. He still does not have complete range of motion, but that didn’t keep him away Saturday.

Dave Herpy, outdoor adventure and camp coordinator for the rec center, was pleased with the event.

“It seemed like everyone had a good time, and there’s been really positive feedback,” Herpy said. “We had some really top-notch climbers here.”

The UBS meets again Saturday at West Virginia University.

Students interested in trying rock climbing get two attempts up the wall at the rec center for $4 or a four month membership for $15. Ladies’ Night on Thursdays from 7-10 p.m. gives women the chance to climb for free.

Contact Student Recreation and Wellness Center reporter Carolyn Drummond at [email protected].