University of Lynchburg will officially open its new climbing wall on Oct. 17 at 1 p.m. as part of the expansion of its Student Center. Rain date for the opening is Oct. 18 at 1:30 p.m.
A large retaining wall had to be built for the reconfigured road around the Student Center, and College officials realized the wall presented recreational and academic opportunities. A section of that wall — 25 feet high and 50 feet wide — is now equipped as a climbing wall and a bouldering wall, a form of low-level climbing without ropes or harnesses.
The wall, which will be managed by the Outdoor Leadership Program, will be available for LC students on a recreational basis Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 12-3 p.m. It will also be used for classes in the health and physical education department and the outdoor minor.
Paul Stern, coordinator of the Outdoor Leadership Program and professor for the outdoor minor, said the wall will function much like the College’s ropes challenge course. The wall will be open only when trained staff members are on duty. Both LC departments and outside community/business groups can reserve time for wall climbing.
“This opens up a whole new opportunity for outdoor adventure right here on campus,” Stern said. “As with all our programs, students will gain self-confidence and learn about the importance of group dynamics in an experiential environment.”
The wall can accommodate nine roped climbers at a time. Two of the nine routes will be auto-belay, belayed, and rappelling routes.
Stern began training his staff on Sept. 26 and had a trial run with the women’s softball team on Oct. 8. Lauren Smith ’17 said her first climb was a little bit scary. “I’ve never done rock climbing before,” she said. “It was fun; I enjoyed it.”
Tyler Stadtherr ’16, one of the student climbing wall supervisors for the Outdoor Leadership Program, said, “You have a lot of things going on you need to pay attention to,” but added it is a great resource for LC. “I think it will be a good opportunity for students if they’ve never tried climbing before.”
For more information about the climbing wall, email firstname.lastname@example.org.