The Auburn Recreation and Wellness Center is the home to two 50-foot climbing towers. Since its opening, this feature of the Rec has been attracting experienced rock climbers and novices alike to take part in a community of climbing.
One particular student noticed when his hobby became something more.
“I just picked it up, and after my first night, I was already hooked,” said Ford Luscy, a junior in biosystems engineering. “It became more of an obsession than a hobby after that.”
Luscy said he loved the way it was therapeutic and competitive.
He said the combination of being able to set attainable goals, stay active, pick up on a hobby and meet a lot of new faces has been paramount in his experience at Auburn.
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Luscy plans to extend his love of climbing and test his skills outside of the Rec in the outdoors.
In addition to the availability of the wall, the Rec is also home to Auburn Outdoors, the on-campus, adventure-based education program.
Auburn Outdoors offers several excursions throughout the year to various outdoor locations for adventurous trips.
These trips typically do not require extensive experience and provide opportunities for climbers of different skill levels to take part.
For climbers just starting out, Auburn Outdoors offers a free orientation from a trained climbing-tower staff member to any member of the Rec interested.
This orientation is a quick run-down of the basic fundametals and safety measures a new climber will need to know, including knowledge of auto belays, bouldering and climbing with a top rope.
Members looking to get involved do not need to provide their own equipment.
Auburn Outdoors supplies the necessary equipment for a safe climbing experience as well as helpful instructions and tips.
Carol Allison, a junior in graphic design, is a novice rock climber and took part in Auburn Outdoor’s orientation to rock climbing.
Allison said she was invited by a friend and felt encouraged by the welcoming community of regular climbers. She said she has since frequented the wall to continue developing skills and relationships.
“It was a great workout,” Allison said. “It worked muscles I wouldn’t normally work out.”
After the initial orientation, Auburn Outdoors offers a range of workshops and verifications to learn new techniques, proper equipment usage, climbing commands and rope knotting techniques, as well as improve skills.
Some of these classes include Fundamentals of Climbing, Top Rope Skills Verification and Lead Climbing Skills Verification.
Erik Coupe, a junior in aerospace engineering, is a member of Auburn’s club rock climbing team.
Coupe said he has benefitted from multiple climbing classes, increasing his skills and knowledge of the techniques involved in climbing.
Coupe has taken part in both the Lead Climbing Workshop and the Top Rope Skills Verification.
“With the Top Rope Belay class, you learn how to tie your own knots,” Coupe said. “[And] you learn how to belay somebody who is climbing up the tower.”
He said while this class does not teach any new techniques, it teaches a different type of belaying.
“Instead of climbing with the rope already hanging off the wall, you tie in and you take the rope up with you and clip into carabiners that are in the wall,” Coupe said
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