Adrenaline rush: physical v. mental

Alexa Phillips

Student rock climbs at CSU Rec Center Climbing Wall.
Derek Peterson, a junior biology major, practices his climbing skills at the CSU Rec Center Climbing Wall. (Photo by Joe Tiner)

You can get an adrenaline rush in different ways – whether it be skydiving or facing a fear. On campus, there are various things one can do to get a rush of adrenaline, whether it exhibits physical or mental strength.

The Physical: Climbing Wall at the Rec


Fortunately for us, we are able to experience some of the outdoors indoors. The Rec offers bouldering, top rope climbing and an outdoor, free-standing boulder students are able to use free of charge.

The two different types of climbing are top rope and bouldering. Top rope is done with a harness, where someone is belaying the climber, supporting them as they climb. The range of difficulty is between 5.6 to 5.12; 5.12 being the most difficult with the least amount of holds. With bouldering, it’s just the climber and the rocks, no rope. The difficulty begins at V0 and goes up to V16.

Students can also become belay certified through the Rec, which involves a test of being able to clip a climber into a harness and successfully supporting them while they climb.

The biggest misconception about climbing is that it only requires upper arm strength. According to Noah Wyka, a sophomore mechanical engineering major, and avid climber of seven years, it’s using “70 percent legs and 30 percent arms.” Wyka’s biggest advice for new climbers is to be really creative in holds and positioning your body on the wall, moving your feet first and then following with your hands.

Climbing doesn’t require very much to begin, just a pair of climbing shoes, a harness and a belay device (all rentable free of charge at the Outdoor Programs desk). Like anything else, practice makes perfect and the first step is just showing up and climbing. The workers at the Rec are more than willing to help you. For wall hours, contact the Rec.

The Mental: The Bug Zoo

If doing something physical isn’t your thing, how about holding insects? Located in Plant Sciences, Room C033, The Bug Zoo hosts a wide range of insects including cockroaches, walking sticks, assassin bugs, local species of European Mantises and many species of beetles along with centipedes, millipedes Chilean Rose tarantulas, many black widows, some native large wolf spiders, a bunch of scorpions and a few vinegaroons.

Peter Forrence, the head “zookeeper” since 2010, says the zoo sprung from the original collection of insects the Graduate Student Office used for outreach.  Many students who have taken BPSM 102, or “Insects, Science and Society,” have heard about The Bug Zoo and have the opportunity to hold some of the insects such as millipedes and tarantulas.

When it comes to holding the insects, it is best to remain calm so the insects do not sense a predator presence. Some of these bugs, such as the millipedes, are clingy, and have very small claws at the ends of their feet so sometimes it feels like Velcro clinging to the skin.

This can be an adrenaline pumping experience because oftentimes students face a fear.


“If you’ve never held a tarantula or a millipede, it’s really scary and you get nervous and shaky, but once it’s over you feel so accomplished,” said Shelby Green, a sophomore business administration major.

Rather than rock climbing, this is a rather unconventional way to get that rush that is often gotten from doing something physical. Rather than exerting strength, it does take some mental courage to be able to hold some of these creatures. To make an appointment to see The Bug Zoo, email Peter Forrence or Matt Camper.

Article produced by College Avenue Magazine.