Scaling new heights: Utah Tech’s climbing club combines competition and camaraderie

Westin Banuelos, a junior biology major from St. George, was preparing for his upcoming competition, April 6. Utah Tech has a competitive rock climbing club, which offers students to showcase their rock climbing skills level. Miki Akiyama | Sun News Daily

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By Quinlan Maumau

St. George is known for its outdoor activities, especially climbing and bouldering. The Utah Tech University competitive climbing club adds to that popularity by embracing the university’s motto “active learning. active life.”

The club is a team for everyone of every skill level, and at Utah Tech, this inclusivity extends alongside boasting the tallest collegiate rock climbing wall in Utah.

Everyone who went to tryouts last semester made the team, and the team is always open to new members. 

Keaton Hall, a junior information technology major from Heber City, said: “We have taken on people who have never climbed before that just show up their very first day. They say, ‘Hey I’ve never rock climbed before.’ We say, ‘Fantastic let’s get you started.’”

Robert Logan, a junior English major from Jackson, Wyoming, and a member of the team, said, “I feel like you can really only get better at climbing if you have fun while doing it.” 

The team is less focused on the competitive aspect and more focused on the climbing aspect of the team. Therefore, the team’s practice schedule isn’t too intense, but they do meet two times throughout the week. 

The team meets for practice every Monday and Thursday from 8-10 p.m. Hall said the time the team practices was voted on by the team members at the start of the semester, and the reason they practice later in the evening is because it was the time that worked best for the members of the team. 

The team competed in their first competition Feb. 17, and they have the final competition of the season April 12 at Utah Valley University. 

Six members of the Utah Tech climbing team are going to compete in this competition. Next year Utah Tech is looking at potentially hosting the state meet as well. 

In each competition, dynamics vary based on factors such as timing, scoring and difficulty levels, providing diverse challenges for competitors to navigate.

While the team typically competes against Utah State University, their aspirations extend beyond competition and routine matchups as they simply love the sport and environment of competitive climbing. 

“The competitions are really casual,” Hall said. “If anything, I would say that we are not really competing against them, but that we are competing with them together. We are all good friends.”

Not everyone on the team competes at all of the competitions either. 

Skye Jones, a junior media studies major from Heber City, said, “I’ve been climbing for years, and when I joined the team, I instantly connected with everyone and found a home.” 

The climbing team at Utah Tech is steadily expanding, attracting more members eager to join the adventure and scale new heights together.

Hall will be the president of the climbing team next semester, and he wants anyone and everyone to join the team no matter how much climbing experience they have. The team is laid back and prioritizes enjoying rock climbing.