Rock climbing isn’t too common at Franciscan University of Steubenville, even though the campus is set on the top of a hill; that’s why sophomore Ross Ayer founded the Rock Climbing Club.
The Rock Climbing Club is designed to promote rock climbing as a form of fitness, enjoyment and personal growth.
Ayer founded the club last semester but has been climbing for eight years. “I love climbing,” said Ayer, “and just felt like the clubs on campus weren’t really filling the potential that it has.”
The Rock Climbing Club introduces the sport of rock climbing to the student body and allows experienced climbers an opportunity to pursue their climbing goals. The club also works as an agent to bring an example of Christ-like love to those in the climbing community.
Ayer explained the club, saying, “We are trying to bring climbing to the student body, and we want to welcome newcomers to the sport and people who have been climbing for years and years. Just to kind of come together and learn more and get psyched on climbing. We focus on outreach to the campus and then also, when we’re away on trips, if we come in contact with people, we try and bring an example of Christ’s love to them.”
The club incorporates ministry into its rock climbing, providing a challenge in both areas. The members have the opportunity to perform a mix of both outdoor and indoor rock climbing.
Ayer indoor rock climbs twice a week and invites members of the Rock Climbing Club to come along. The club holds about one event a month, planning trips to places such as Kiedaisch Point, as well as various indoor gyms.
The Rock Climbing Club’s meetings are held once a month, depending on whether one of their events is to take place. Members of the club are asked to come to at least two events a year, as well as fill out a waiver.
This semester, Ayer said the club is going to try and hold rock climbing events outside as much as possible before it gets too cold out. Then once the cold weather hits, the club will go indoor rock climbing more frequently.
“I want to try and encourage people who have never tried it before to come out,” said Ayer. “A lot of the big concerns we got at the club fair and talking to people were ‘I have no experience, I have no gear, what do I do,’ and we will work with you! We are working with places to get some discounts, and we have a discount online for club gear. So, we’re going to take care of people, and we have four or five of us that are super committed. We have tons of equipment, so we never are short.”
All students, experienced or not, are encouraged to take part in the Rock Climbing Club. It is a way to stay fit, practice ministry and have fun. For more information, contact the Rock Climbing Club at RockClimbingClub@franciscan.edu.