The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Climbing Center hosts mile high challenge

First-year Daniel Maitland climbs the bouldering wall in Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports Tuesday.
Casey Lee
First-year Daniel Maitland climbs the bouldering wall in Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports Tuesday.

First-year Daniel Maitland climbs the bouldering wall in Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports Tuesday. (Casey Lee)

The Climbing Facility at the Dedman Center is hosting their first ever Mile High Challenge, open to all students and faculty. The Mile High Challenge is a friendly event where climbers in teams of two have to ascend a total of 5,280 feet within the span of 12 weeks. It began August 25th but is still open for more climbers. Far from being a race, the event is designed to spark interest in climbing within the SMU community.

“It’s not necessarily a competition, it’s a personal challenge, it’s about personal goals,” said Julia Levy, a student employee at the center.

David Chambers, head of the Outdoor Adventure Center within Dedman, said he got the idea for the challenge from looking at other schools and coordinators.

“We were looking for an easy way for people to climb more. The idea is that it doesn’t matter how much you climb, just that you’re climbing.”

The challenge involves climbers in teams of two ascending the Center to at most 40 feet, one climber at a time. In this system, one team member is always belaying the other, which is a safety technique to keep the climber safe in case of an unexpected fall. One person can be on up to three teams at a time. There are roughly ten teams participating at the moment.

The team members combine for a total of 132 climbs, which equals the 5,280 feet required for the challenge. Before they can start, however, the climbers have to be certified in belay training for safety reasons, but it does not take much time according to Chambers.

“We always want to keep it fun and lighthearted, but we have rules on this,” he said.

The program seems to be taking a hold on the SMU community.

“We’ve gotten a lot of people interested; it’s just a matter of seeing how long they stick with it. We love meeting new people,” described Levy. “There is a lot of participation, so students don’t get beaten by the professors, because we have some of them; don’t let somebody twice your age show you up.”

The reward at the end of the challenge is a t-shirt from the Climbing Center and the pride of having accomplished a rare feat.

“It really seems like people are having a lot of fun. The T-shirts are going to be really cool, so everybody should come out and try and shoot for a t-shirt,” said Levy. We have one team that’s gotten 800 feet in one sitting, so it’s completely doable. There is no limit to how far you can go in one day.”

When the climbers are finished, they record their accomplishments in a ledger and the Climbing Center staff enters them into a database which tracks how far each team has climbed. Chambers encouraged anyone who has an interest in rock climbing to come to Dedman and participate.

“Beginning climber? Great. You don’t have to be a good climber, you’ve just got to be able to climb. We have twelve weeks, which is plenty of time,” said Levy. e added that the challenge may become a part of the Climbing Center’s future, but that depends on how successful the program is this year.

The event goes until November 7th, with Climbing Center hours listed on the OAC website, http://smu.edu/recsports/adventure/oac.html

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