Climbers bring organization, competition to growing club

Sylvie Luiten

Whitman’s Climbing Club has made big strides since its formation two years ago, and is fast becoming a popular new environment for students of all skill levels.

Credit: Catie Bergman

The climbing club strives to be open to all students. “The climbing club really is for everyone: its not for really experienced climbers who want to climb 5.14 and that’s their whole life, really what we’re looking for is to create a fun, supportive social environment that centers around climbing,” said junior Jack Lazar, who began climbing at a young age in order to approach a girl.

“When I was in 6th grade, there was a small climbing wall at my school, and my crush saw me and told me that I looked like I would be really good at climbing and that I should come join the Stoneworks climbing team in Portland, and so I did, and we worked wonderfully, climbing and I,” said Lazar. The girl may not have lasted, but the climbing did for Lazar, who is now President of the club.

Tom Vogt, a junior novice climber, recently joined the new club.

“I had been on the cycling team and wanted other sport activities to get into, and I started climbing. I’m in a climbing class, and my friend told me that you could do outdoor climbing trips with the climbing club and get to know other climbers. The wall has its own nice, really inviting community. It’s also a good chance to turn a fun indoor and outdoor activity into a social activity,” said Vogt.

Over the last year, the club has spent much of their time planning for the future. Now they look forward to enjoying the fruits of all their labor.  The club competes with other schools from the Pacific Northwest.

Credit: Catie Bergman

“[In the] NC3 there’s about seven or eight [competitions] but we don’t necessarily go to all of them,” said Charlotte Hill,  a junior and  head of the Indoor Committee, a position which gives her responsibility for the indoor portion of the club’s activities.

“Last semester [junior]  Kenn Kochi and I decided that we really wanted to start the climbing club back up and build a structure that the climbing community could organize around. So we set about doing that and getting people together and having meetings,” said Lazar.

Even though the team is still getting on its feet, its members already have accomplishments under their harnesses.

“We’ve sent people to competitions, we have trainings on Wednesdays we’re looking to have trainings three days a week. We have plans for all these different activities and fundraising: and we’re going to make shirts,” said Lazar.

Vogt points out that this club is uniquely accessible, both because of its openness to new members, and because of the flexible nature of the sport.

“It’s cool to see how all different body types can find an advantage in climbing. With climbing, all shapes and sizes find a way to approach it differently. There’s kind of a spot for everyone and every body type: its sort of neat.”