CWU climbing team gets ready to rock
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The CWU Climbing Club will host their first multiple school competition of the year. Ropeless Rodeo will host 13 to14 colleges with up to 140 participants from around the area, including University of Washington, Oregon and Washington state University.
Rock climbing is a growing sport, becoming more available through indoor climbing gyms and gaining popularity from outdoor and fitness enthusiasts. Most universities now have rock walls as part of their recreations centers making competitions more regular.
“150 people showed up to the one at University of Oregon (UO) last year and there was double that this year, they didn’t have enough shirts for people, they had to cram three heats over six or seven hours. It was crazy,” said competitor Dan Connelly.
Connelly is a senior, double majoring in psychology and sociology and has been competing for four years with the CWU Climbing Club.
Climbing Club has been busy over winter quarter with competitions at Washington State University, University of Oregon and Oregon State University, making CWU’s Ropeless Rodeo the fourth competition in four weeks, with more to follow in coming weeks.
“I’m still sore from last Saturday,” said Connelly.
CWU is a good location for climbing competitions due to Ellensburg’s central location between Idaho and Western Washington.
Considering climbers from Western Washington would have to drive close to five hours to make it to a competition at the University of Idaho, CWU is expecting a large turnout for its competition.
Although, CWU climbers are on the rock wall multiple days per week, they don’t receive the home-field advantage that you would expect. Competitors will not be allowed to see or try the routes before the competition starts due to an unfair advantage of practicing the same routes used for competition.
In order to set up competition, there will be people from the CWU community and the Northwest Collegiate Climbing Competitions(NC3), which is people from schools all over the state of Washington, as well as Oregon and Idaho.
“We’ve been planning for this for about a month now, and as far as actual set up, we will be closing down the wall this Friday night (Feb. 17) and we’ll be stripping the wall and setting new routes, cleaning things in preparation for the climbing competition that is on Saturday (Feb. 25),” said Angus Brookes of the CWU Recreation Center. Each route in the competition contains a certain amount of point value with the more difficult, advanced routes having higher point values. Routes are rated on the V scale: a scale that was developed by John Vermon as a scale of difficulty that ranges from V0 to V17.
“There’s a lot of people that have been climbing for years. They usually set pretty tough (routes). The easier routes starting at around V2. There aren’t many that have V0 if any and can go upwards of V10 or V11,” Connelly said.
Competitors will be given the chance to climb in a heat, which will last in between two and three hours, with a goal of completing the most difficult routes. Competitors will have multiple chances to climb a specific route but will receive more points for completing a route in one try.
At the end of the competition ,prizes will be given to the winners as well as a raffle for climbing gear, stickers or tank tops.