Rock Climbing Competition Gives Amateur And Advanced Climbers The Opportunity To Compete

Rock climbers competed in the Star Chaser competition at LaHaye Recreation & Fitness Center the week of April 18 with the opportunity to complete fun challenges and win prizes.

The week-long competition required climbers to reserve time slots due to COVID-19 restrictions. Climbers signed up throughout the week and climbed as often as they could. 

The goal was to complete as many climbing problems as possible and obtain the greatest number of points.

A “problem” is the route that a climber takes, from start to finish. The route consists of different climbing holds that the climber can use to complete the problem.

Liberty Campus Recreation used a point system to determine how much each problem was worth. The point system took the form of stars, as every problem had a number of stars beside it. The more stars attached to a problem, the more points the climber would acquire if they successfully completed it.

Elliot Gaunt, the climbing coach at Liberty, supervised the competition. 

According to Gaunt, the value given to each star problem was random to ensure a fair chance for all levels of climbers. This way, the competition was not strictly based off strength but rather consistency. Gaunt said the climbers that came in more frequently had a higher chance of winning because they would have more chances to complete each problem. 

May Bruno, a senior who has been on the climbing team for three semesters, said that she and other members of the team enjoyed the challenges. 

“It’s a lot of fun,” Bruno said. “We haven’t had competitions on the club team yet, so this is a way for us to try competing without breaking COVID

According to  Gaunt, there were also daily challenges that climbers could complete to get bonus points and even win a prize if they won the challenge overall. These challenges varied each day and consisted of fun activities relevant to climbing. 

“It’s really been fun to see everybody be competitive and just enjoy themselves,” Gaunt said. 

Gaunt announced the top three winners for both men and women. For men, Simeon Ederz placed first, Ryan Weslouski second and Stone Felty third. In the women’s division, May Bruno placed first, Veronica Valdez second and Rachel Wyble third. 

Freshman Graham Clawson said he had fun competing in the event because he was given the opportunity to climb against other people. He also enjoyed the daily challenges and the chance to win prizes.

Clawson appreciates the community at the rock wall and everything that it has to offer.

“It keeps you in shape, but it’s also really fun,” Clawson said. 

Prior to COVID-19 restrictions, Campus Recreation would host a bouldering competition in the fall and a route competition in the spring. However, the Star Chaser competition took place of both events as it complied with current restrictions, so climbers could be spaced throughout the week rather than all climbing on the same day. 

As Liberty plans for students to return in the fall with no restrictions, Gaunt said the bouldering and route competition should resume as well. For information on rock climbing, visit Campus Recreation’s website.

Lauren Shank is the News Editor. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenmshank.

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