Rock Climbing Is Gaining a Foothold on Campus

University students are finding rock climbing a great fitness tool

North Dakota State University students in Fargo, North Dakota are doing a lot of rock climbing. The campus recreation and intramural sports coordinator, JoVal Wettlaufer, has noticed a growing interest among college students in the Fargo-Moorhead area. “Students are doing it more these days, and I see a lot of people doing outdoor climbing more,” says Wettlaufer.

20-year-old North Dakota State University student, Andrea Clarens, compares the sport to doing a puzzle. Each move is like putting in another piece, she says. Clarens first discovered rock climbing as a freshman. “When you’re working for maybe a couple weeks — three, four weeks even sometimes — on a certain move on a route and then you’re able to get it, and you’re able to move past that point, I think that’s a really great feeling,” she said. “It’s a really odd feeling when you first realize that you’re basically just connected to a rope that’s going up to the top of the wall,” she added.

Minnesota State University Moorhead senior Brooke Kosloski has also been using her school’s wall since she was a freshman. After an initial moment of nervousness, she started to get the hang of it and was hooked. For Kosloski, rock climbing is a form of escape. “It’s somewhere I can go and put earbuds in and just go,” she believes. Both of the schools’ walls are similar, rising 34 feet and 30 feet with separate walls for “bouldering” — low rising walls that do not require ropes. No previous experience is necessary to take up the sport and the walls are safe for beginners as well as challenging enough for experts.

Since she started climbing, Kosloski has noticed increased stamina and strength, particularly in her forearms and legs. She encourages anyone to try it. “We have students who come in who have never worked out in their life and they’re able to make it up the wall,” she says. “You use your legs to go up the wall, your hands to stay on the wall.”

Both girls have advanced their skills to a point where they climb outdoors. Rock-climbing outdoors, however, carries a higher risk of slips and falls. There are other things to consider when climbing outdoors, such as weather and wildlife, but the rewards are also greater.


River Rock Climbing ( provides a community gathering space where people of all ages, all abilities and from all walks of life can come together and have some fun while enjoying the fantastic sport of rock climbing. River Rock also offers yoga and pilates classes, visit the website to learn more about Roanoke VA Fitness.

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