New Obstacle At LaHaye Rock Wall Challenges Way Students Climb

Students at the LaHaye Recreation & Fitness Center might be surprised to find rock climbers upside down, moving up and down the board and working against gravity. The LaHaye Rock Wall added a Grasshopper Board over winter break, changing the way climbers train and enhancing the climbing experience for climbers of varying levels.

The Grasshopper Board, designed by photographer and popular rock climbing figure Boone Speed, serves as a training tool for athletes, has a completely symmetrical layout, allowing for even training of both sides of the body.  

To operate the board, Grasshopper created a user interface that is interactive through an app which is connected directly to the board through Bluetooth.

Climbers are able to manipulate the LEDS that are within the climbing holds. In other words, climbers are able to select problems that are designed by people all across the world and create their own.

“So, if you get really good at climbing some of the easier ones at a more vertical angle, then you can just make it steeper and everything becomes more difficult,” Rock Wall Coordinator Elliot Gaunt said. 

The new addition creates a personalized experience for each individual climber. Climbers are able to adjust the board according to their individual skill set and what they want to focus on with each climb. 

“You kind of cater towards your weaknesses in order to get stronger and more well-rounded for outdoor climbing or even just in the gym,” Gaunt said. 

The staff at the rock wall have been trying to get the Grasshopper Board at the facility for the past couple of years because of the board’s ability to train and benefit climbers.

The board was installed during winter break and was assembled by the rock wall staff in less than two days. The holds that are assembled onto the board are specific in their placement and are not meant to be moved. However, the app that is programmed based off of the layout of the board provides many problems that are essentially all from the same setup.

The 4,000 square foot climbing facility offers bouldering, a climbing tower and a Grasshopper Board. In order to use the Grasshopper Board and the rock wall in general, climbers must register for a time slot before they are able to participate. 

More information about the rock wall can be found at 

Lauren Shank is a News Reporter. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenmshank.

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