Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

New club starts climbing its way to the top

President+Ryan+Collins+%28top+middle%29+and+the+Climbing+club+after+their+first+climbing
Josh Stoughton
President Ryan Collins (top middle) and the Climbing club after their first climbing

Student-led clubs are a big part of campus life at the UW-Whitewater. Whether it’s a video game club or a food club, there is no shortage of interesting activities to get involved in. This year, a new club emerged on campus that already has a wide variety of members. The Climbing Club is a brand-new organization that challenges both new and experienced climbers to boundaries that they never thought they could reach.

Ryan Collins, a history education major, started the club during the spring 2023 semester after discovering some interest in climbing in both faculty and students. It originally started as a small group of students who went to nearby climbing gyms in either Madison or Milwaukee. It has grown into a club that had over 60 students fill out an interest form during the Involvement Fair held on campus in September.

Climbing club members hiking up the side of a mountain. (Josh)

“I wanted to create the climbing club just to find other climbers at Whitewater. Obviously, we don’t have a wall at the moment, so there was no real way of finding out who climbs and who I can start going with, so I decided to create the club and find that community,” Collins said. “I also had a professor reach out to me even before I even thought about making the climbing club, Josh Mabie. He kind of pushed me in the right direction to make the climbing club. He helped me a lot throughout that process and here we are.”

Collins, with the help of faculty and other students, is currently working towards getting a climbing wall on campus. Faculty members have already put a proposal in for a climbing wall to be put in at Whitewater, though momentum and new members joining the club, they are going back to the table to get the wall. For now, they climb walls in Madison and Milwaukee.

“A lot of people seem to really like it. My short-term goal is getting a good community of climbers going on a regular basis. My long-term goal is hopefully getting that wall here at the school.”

“What I really like about it is you can make it as difficult as you want it to be. There are really hard climbs and there are really easy climbs. You can pick how hard you want it to be. Starting off in the day, I would try something a little bit easier and get bold and try something a little more difficult, get a little mad, then go back to something easy and I’m having a better day. You can pick what you want to do,” said vice president AJ Gillespie.

The introduction of this new club brought curiosity throughout campus. Students who had never climbed or thought of climbing before went to try it and found they enjoyed it. Now, with the new student interest, Collins and others are aiming to have a climbing wall placed in Whitewater.

“Nobody cares how difficult the route you are climbing is, it’s really if you go out there and show that you are putting in effort, everyone is going to cheer for you,” Collins said. “Absolutely zero experience needed. Pretty much everyone who is in the club right now has gone like one time, if even. And people still show up to our meetings on campus now and are like ‘I’ve never climbed before, but I am super interested in it. Can I show up to this?’ and I’m like ‘Absolutely.’ Just show up once, and if you don’t like it, you never have to do it again.”

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Josh Stoughton, Arts & Recreation Editor

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