To some, climbing can seem too dangerous or too difficult to get started in. However, the Georgia Tech Climbing Club provides many students with the opportunity to enjoy the sport in a fun, competitive and safe environment. Accommodating all skill and interest levels, the club seeks to create an environment in which people can learn to enjoy climbing while also pursing the sports more competitive aspects.
“The club’s mission is to create a community of people who want to learn to climb and those who want to compete to come together and to enjoy climbing,” explained the club’s president Jonah Weil, third-year ChBE.
The club and its members seek to strike a balance between the laid-back culture of the sport and the need for a structured plan for training. This has been one of the recent developments of the club.
“We’ve worked to make the culture inclusive and easily accessible while also expanding to allow those who wish to compete the opportunity,” Weil said.
The club will have two of its members compete at the national competition, where they will illuminate the Climbing Club’s ability to support more serious athletes.
“This shows the addition of the competitive side while also demonstrating that the club can be serious and compete with others,” Weil shared. “However, most of our members stay for the relaxed environment. We’ve seen retention increase which shows the strength of the community we’re building,” he continued.
The club focuses on more than just its internal community and is looking to promote the sport and culture in the Atlanta area.
“We’ve been working to start a volunteer program with the YMCA, where we could help others learn to love climbing. We like the idea of reaching out to the community and spreading what the sport is about,” said Weil.
Those who wish to be part of this community and sport should fear not about becoming involved. The club meets every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in the CRC to talk business and then goes to Stone Summit Climbing Gym. That’s where the real fun starts. Here members receive discounted entry through the club which allows access to countless climbs of varying levels of difficulty.
“We’ve worked with Stone Summit to secure a great deal that provides a lot for our members that isn’t available to many others,” said Weil.
For someone who just wants to become more involved, Weil said “they can expect to be introduced to more experienced climbers and the community. We can get them into the gym for free and started climbing on day one so that they can get started with the sport.”
Weil assured that “climbing is a very safe sport, especially indoors. If someone wants to become more proficient we have the experience and knowledge necessary to train them safely.”
For those looking for more structure and competition, the club participates in various climbing competitions throughout the southeast competing against other collegiate programs.
“The club will reimburse competition fees which enables us to travel and experience the best climbing and competition the southeast has,” Weil said.
It’s evident that GT Climbing Club has become a bastion of outdoor sport and community at Tech. The combination of competition and a relaxed feel are what make the club unique. By providing a way for people to come together and join in the excitement, the club is working toward bettering both the climbing and Tech communities.