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Climbing Enthusiasts Form “Horizontally Challenged”

Peder Aalgaard | Staff Writer | 02/09/2011

Recently, a new club devoted to rock climbing was started on campus. Whether it is on a wall indoors or on down in a Colorado canyon, the club formed with the intent to climb.

Through climbing classes and climbing recreationally, the current members wanted more opportunities to climb. Seeing no reason why there should not be a climbing club, they formed the group called Horizontally Challenged.

This is not the first time a climbing club has been formed by BSU students. However, due to many of the group officers graduating, the club was unable to continue. Climbers still continued to meet at the wall, all with different levels of experience.

The students who attended the inaugural meeting were eager to get the club started. Together, the members began appointing positions, discussing meeting times, brainstorming future events and fundraiser ideas.

The group was hoping to get a chance to visit Red Rock, Nev., as well as going to Duluth for sport climbing. They will also be visiting other rock walls until the snow melts.

When asked what got them interested in rock climbing, the members all had different reasons behind their decisions. Forrest Ross started climbing in high school after a trip to South Dakota to climb the Needles, a collection of steep, rocky hills in the southern part of the state.  Pam Austad was worried about getting old while sitting behind a desk.

“I went out to Colorado to visit a friend of mine to climb one day,” said Austad. “We ended up climbing five straight days. And 24 hours after I got back, I went with the school on the Needles trip. That’s how addictive it is.”

While their reasons for starting are different, the members agreed that climbing is a very community-oriented sport. Several members noted that it’s very easy to meet great people during trips, in climbing classes, or simply climbing in one’s own time.

“You can make it as challenging as you want,” Ross said. “You have it easier where you just don’t make it up a hill or you could be hanging upside down from your finger tips.”

Austad hopes the group will be able to travel to Red Rock for a climbing trip. Red Rock has different climbing gear companies that set up booths to allow climbers to test their equipment. This is also an opportunity for people to meet professional climbers who test the new equipment featured.

Aside from wall climbing, the club will also venture to other popular sites for climbing, as well as bouldering in Duluth. There will not be any free climbing, as most of the group agrees that it is “just a bad idea.”

Rock climbing is easily a safe sport with the right equipment and communication between everyone involved, said the group. It is something that welcomes all that are interested in a new way to stay active, meet new people, and see new and interesting locations.

The club is not limited to BSU students; members of the community and alumni are welcome to join. For more information, contact Pam Austad at AustadPam@yahoo.com.

BSU is home to many different and interesting clubs. From the Gaming & Entertainment Enthusiast Klub, to Theater Unlimited, Otaku Society, and the many intramural sport teams, there is a club for just about anyone wanting to meet with people sharing at least one common interest.