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Club holds climbing competition

Nicole Toczauer | Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Notre Dame Climbing Club held Notre Dame’s first bouldering competition in the Rockne Memorial Gym on Sunday.

Sophomore Andrea Rabassa, club secretary, said the event was created to provide an opportunity  for the growing number of climbers at Notre Dame to compete.

The club began in 1997 with only a few members, but has grown exponentially in the past three years, Rabassa said.

With 71 paying members, regulars at the climbing wall usually work on bouldering.

“Bouldering is when you climb without a rope, which can be hard depending on what you’re climbing,” she said. “We needed a competition to give these people a chance to show their skills.”

The Bouldering Competition was split into six divisions: novice, beginner female, beginner male, intermediate male, intermediate female and advanced.

“We were trying to cater to those who never climbed before as well as to more advanced climbers,” Rabassa said. “We wanted to reach everyone at Notre Dame, no matter what their experience level.”

Each participant had a half hour time slot scheduled between 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Sunday. During their time slot, participants climbed pre-made routes designed by the club.

“We set up a bunch of routes for this weekend, ranging from very easy to difficult,” Rabassa said. “It was a great opportunity to change up the wall and get people to try new routes.”

Each route was set for a different level and had points attributed to it accordingly. Competitors recorded the top three most difficult routes they climbed within the half hour on a scorecard.

“We added up the points and then the person with the most for each division won a pretty sweet climbing prize,” Rabassa said.

Winners of the novice and beginner divisions received a chalk bag and chalk. Winners of the intermediate divisions received toothbrushes in addition to the chalk bags. The advanced division winner received a $20 gift card for rock climbing gear.

“Chalk is very handy when you start climbing because you use it to dry your hands. It makes it a lot easier,” Rabassa said. “Toothbrushes are used for cleaning out holds so you can get a better grip.”

Senior Ben Rollin, club president, said the climbing club might hold a similar competition in the spring. Other club events include three climbing trips to the Red River Gorge in Kentucky each semester.

“Based on feedback from climbers, everyone seems to be having a lot of fun,” Rollin said. “Anyone is welcome to join.”

In addition the competition and trips, the club also provides a social aspect for its climbers, Rollin said.

“Something about climbing that’s special is that you put your life in the hands of people you don’t always know well at first,” he said. “But they’re all extremely supportive, and you come to know them very well.”