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Meet the CSU Climbing Team

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By Laura Studley

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Beginning in the fall of 2012, the Colorado State University climbing team has been nationally ranked 3rd twice, 2nd and held two national titles.

In September, 104 people tried out for the climbing team. With climbing seeing an increase in popularity at CSU, gym staff found it difficult to accommodate the size of the team. Because of this, the team had to divide into two groups — varsity and junior varsity.

The varsity team practices a total of nine hours a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights while the JV team holds practice on Fridays.

“We practice over at Ascent Studios,” said junior health and exercise science major Dana Musgrave. “It’s kind of like anyone who really wants to be there can be there. So it’s freshman through grad students, we have all of them.”

Dues are required to become a member of the climbing team: $30 to join the junior varsity and $100 to join varsity. This cost covers team shirts and other expenses toward the end of the season. The dues exclude potential travel costs and competition entry fees.

Team members have the opportunity to compete in both regional and national competitions.

“Competitions are big events that the team gets together for,” said junior English major Abby Currie. “Especially when it comes to regionals and nationals. We get to travel for nationals, which is really cool, and get to see different states because it changes every year where the nationals are at.”

Climbing provides members with a break from the stress of school. It gives a sense of community and develops new friendships.

“When I first started, I met a lot of good friends through the team,” said Currie. “I just wasn’t expecting to meet so many different people that I did and having all these really good experiences. I mean I just tried it because it sounded like fun and a lot more came out of it than I initially imagined.”

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Keeping a balance between school and climbing practice proves difficult for some members of the team, however, climbing is very rewarding regardless of the amount of school work waiting after practice, Musgrave said.

“Sometimes climbing wants to take precedence,” said junior forest and rangeland stewardship major Anthony Hilton, “but school should come first.”

Climbing has become integrated more and more into Colorado culture. The sport gives an opportunity to challenge individuals both mentally and physically.

“You’re tired from training which can be hard, or it can be a mental thing where you can physically do it, but there’s that mental barrier,” Currie said. “You just have to get past that, especially when you’re lead climbing because there’s always that fear of falling. Fear is a big part of any sport.”

There is an expectation that climbers should be of a particular physique to be able to climb well, however, according to Musgrave, anyone can become good at climbing.

“Even though people expect climbers to be super strong, buff looking dudes,” Musgrave said, “if you’re a skinny little lengthy girl, you can still be a really strong climber. Anyone can climb, you don’t have to be super buff and super ‘strong’ to be a climber.”

The team welcomes people of all experience levels. Though tryouts typically happen at the beginning of the fall semester, the team encourages anyone to join during the spring semester regardless of missing the tryouts.

To learn more information about the team, go to www.csuclimbing.com.

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