Conquer your Fears

For students interested in hanging four stories off the ground by a rope, the SHSU Outdoor Recreation Program plans on playing host to a series of rock climbing technique clinics this semester at the Health and Kinesiology Center.

When the rock wall opened in the spring of 2006, over 1,000 students took the challenge in February alone. The 34-foot wall came to the university as part of the HKC expansion and features one of the first indoor boulders at a Texas university.

Yet with the bulk of students coming from East Texas, SHSU Assistant Director for Outdoor Sports, Stephen Thompson, said most students have never experienced the sport of rock climbing.

“There’s just really not a lot of opportunity to go rock climbing naturally in East Texas,” Thompson said, “so it’s good for the students to come and try something they wouldn’t normally get to experience at home.”

Several types of clinics are held each week with most occurring from 4-5 p.m. on either Monday or Wednesday. Climbing Movement clinics, which are free of charge, instruct students on proper rock handling, balance and position. Top Rope Belay clinics cost $5 and teach students the basics, such as using a rope to support someone else as they climb, in the most predominate form of climbing used on the wall. Lead Climb clinics, which also cost $5, are held 2-3 times per semester and instruct students on more advanced climbing techniques.

“We want the students to learn to climb and do something they don’t get to experience every day,” Thompson said. “We want to get them away from the TV and the X-Box. It’s a safe environment, and we try to make it fun.”

Students who attend the clinics may earn certification on the wall, presenting more opportunities for climbing.

“The certification is just for our wall. We will have staff belay students with no experience for about the last hour we’re open each night. But certification allows students to come in anytime and climb,” Thompson said.

Starting today, Outdoor Rec will also be hosting a Rec Sports “Vertical Happy Hour” every Thursday from 6-7 p.m. During that time, regular fees for climbing the wall will be waived. No experience is required for either the clinics or the happy hour.

Regular hours for the rock wall run Monday through Friday from 3-6 p.m., Sunday from 2-8 p.m. and Saturday from 12-5 p.m. with open climbing for the last hour of each day. Students can climb for $2 each day or may purchase a semester pass, which includes equipment, for $20. Exact dates and times for the clinics are available on the Student Services Activities Calendar at

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