Out of the many things on my SCSU to-do list, I finally made my way down to the Climbing Wall in Halenbeck.
Lately, and even though it’s still relatively early into spring semester, I’ve felt the pressure of school coming down and wanted to take the edge off by doing something I enjoy, especially before midterms.
And with this weekend off, and the wall open during the afternoon, I couldn’t find a better way to spend the nice February afternoon in St. Cloud. Not to mention I’ve been telling myself that I’d get on the wall since the first time I walked through Halenbeck during my tour.
I’m not by any means an avid climber or an expert—being that the last time I went climbing was three years ago at Devil’s Lake State Park in Baraboo, Wisc.—but I’ve always had a good time doing so.
And so, on Saturday, when I was really feeling the weight of classes, work and all else, I called up a few buddies and off we went.
They had already been on the wall and kept telling me over and over again, along with nearly everybody else that I’ve talked to about it, to get down there.
It’s hard to make time to do fun things when you’re a student, working crazy hours and up all night writing or reading for classes, but if there’s anything that I really want to express is that whether you go climbing in Halenbeck or swimming or whatever, it is so important to make time to do the things that keep you sane during school; especially during midterms and finals.
And so, making our way into Halenbeck, and through the maze-like building, we finally came up to the wall.
Standing tall, spotted with different colored hand holds, with ropes running parallel to the wall, I stopped and just had to admire the fact that there’s a rock climbing wall on campus.
Then, after signing in and figuring out the harness, we waited patiently for our turn to get on the wall.
The wall saw a bit of traffic on Saturday too. Jumping around on the padding laid before climbing routes and anxiously waiting to go was a 4-year-old that, once secured, didn’t hesitate to make his way up the wall.
To say the least, I was seriously impressed that not only was a 4-year-old climbing to the very top of the route, but how well the wall catered to climbers.
Even though there are sections of the wall that can be a bit unforgiving to the newcomers like myself, there are also routes for beginners that can help build confidence for next time.
Plus, the folks from Outdoor Endeavors that were keeping the 4-year-old, and the many others that day, on the wall were helpful with giving tips and advice on how to approach certain routes.
For example, keeping closer to the wall may help take the strain off of the muscles in your arm a bit, and if you’re like me trying the overhang, it’s crucial to use your legs as much as possible, because if you don’t, it’s likely you’ll run out of steam before the top.
I learned that the hard way, but nonetheless, I felt better that I dedicated the afternoon to something enjoyable and new, rather than, and I know this sounds a bit off, homework and the myriad of pages that need reading.
I feel a bit more levelheaded about going into the week now. It was a nice change of pace, and helped to just mix things up a bit.
I’m hoping to make it a weekly deal to get down there, but there’s many things to do in Halenbeck, and all around campus for that matter, that I still haven’t tried out. And now that I’m able to see the finish line of my college career, I feel like the hourglass is running out and I want to make sure I leave here with a degree, along with experiences and memories that are positive, other than just remembering the all-nighters and endless cups of coffee that fueled them.
This article originally appeared in the University Chronicle on February 9, 2015.