At Columbus State University, there have been multiple rock climbing competitions in the past, but none compare to the Fall 2019 Climbing Competition. The night of Aug. 28 opened the competition with the first preliminary race.
There are three preliminary races that lead up to the final round in November. Each competitor is allowed three attempts to achieve their fastest time on the assigned wall for that particular race. Every race will have a first place winner who will advance to the last competition to compete for the final prize.
For the first three races, the winner and runner-up win prizes as well; the winner is awarded a $25 gift card to the Columbus State bookstore, and second place winner receives a food voucher to Chick-fil-a. The final competition does not have two available prizes for grabs but three prizes: the first place winner receives a $50 gift card to the bookstore, the second place winner receives a $25 gift card to the bookstore and a food voucher to Chick-fil-a, and the third place winner receives a $25 gift card to the bookstore.
The August competition had 10 competitors competing not only against one another, but themselves, to achieve the fastest possible time. Everyone competed on Wall 6, which is the second easiest to climb compared to Wall 1. There is no single route, so all the participants have to worry about is getting to the top. Every race will abide by these rules, until the final race where the climbers will have to follow a specific route.
Lauren Davis, the coordinator for this event, spoke with the Saber about the rock climbing competition.
“I think that’s the daunting thing about climbing, it appears intimidating, but it actually incorporates the activities that we participated in as children…climbing trees and fences was instinctual to us. Everyone started with zero knowledge; technique can be learned. It’s really about the friends getting each other here to climb. It’s totally social and communal,” she said.
Junior Psychology major, Nahdirah Muhammad, competed in this preliminary race and agreed with Davis that rock climbing is intimidating and difficult, but “every step is a new challenge and conquered challenge. It’s very rewarding.” Her motivation for competing was to conquer her fear of heights, and that she did so by taking advantage of all three attempts for her fastest time.
Many other students were intrigued with the competition and were motivated to compete. The fastest attempt at the wall was sophomore Business major, Billy Daffin. His time was 16 seconds, but unfortunately, it did not count. Daffin is a student at Columbus State who has a love and passion for rock climbing. He started off as an amateur only two years ago and soon grew to become an exceptionally strong climber. Daffin doesn’t officially compete in the competitions held at the rec center to prevent intimidating other climbers. However, he can be found at the rock climbing wall frequently to assist students in climbing, encouraging them, and giving them advice.
He isn’t an official staff member, but Davis said that “you can catch him everyday here.” Daffin is treated like staff though for his hard work and dedication towards helping anyone who comes by the rock climbing wall. Davis credits him and the staff members as being “the hands and feet of the rock climbing wall.”
For any students interested in competing, the next preliminary race will occur on Sept. 25. “It’s so personal,” said Daffin. He, along with Davis and the rock wall staff, encourages everyone to come have this personal experience. You might be surprised at what you can achieve when you decide to at least give it a try.