Climb challenges partners


Sam Underwood

Randy Arevalo and Trent Cardenas climb on The Rock at the Student Rec Center on Feb. 14 during the partner climb night. Sam Underwood/The Runner

Sam Underwood

Features Reporter

Valentine’s Day has traditionally been about love and romance; however, there is more to a relationship than just that. There is trust, reliability, good communication and the ability to work together.  The Student Recreation Center at CSU Bakersfield has put together a fun and challenging event that will test these aspects of any kind of relationship with this year’s couple’s rock climb challenge.

The partner climb night on Feb. 14, featured a series of puzzles and tests that required climbers to work together as a team.

Aaron Bounthong, a rock assistant at the SRC and psychology major, explained the challenges are, “a unique way of climbing in order to solve a problem on the bolder,” he said.

Hand holds and foot holds were marked with different colors of tape for the different challenges.  Climbers were limited to which colors they can use, depending on the challenge they are completing.

Bruce McConnell, a business management major, and Kelsey Vance, a liberal studies major, met at the rock wall for their Valentine’s “day date,” as Vance put it, to take on some of the couple’s climbs.

Vance and McConnell have been a couple for a year and a half.  They met climbing together at CSUB and still climb together at least once a week. The first one they completed was color coded in such a way that McConnell must use Vance’s ankle to hang on to, in order to transition from one boulder to the next.  As they went through the couple’s challenge, Bounthong was nearby offering encouragement to them as spectators watched hoping they would make it.

“Bruce is heavier than I am, so he has to trust me to hold onto my position as he climbs,” said Vance after they complete their challenge. “It was fun.”

McConnell added, “It really put us to the test.”

Many different challenges have been created by the SRC team.  One variation forced a couple to lean against each other, back to back, in order to traverse the space between two boulders.  Another required couples to circle the bottom of a boulder laterally while holding hands.

Randy Arevalo, a chemistry major, and Trent Cardenas, a computer engineering major, took on a challenge together.  The challenge required them, as a team, to unhook a bell-shaped hand hold, known as an atomic pipe, from their respective sides and pass them to each other as they hang from the inside of an arch.  Then, clip the atomic pipe to the inside of the arch, and swing from them to change sides, all while maintaining foot and hand holds on their respective colors.

While Arevalo and Cardenas hung from the arch, other climbers and staff gathered to watch and support them.  The moment was a true show of comradery on campus. As they completed their climb, Arevalo and Cardenas shared a victory fist bump at the top of the boulder.

In the past, partner climbs have been a competitive event. However, this year couples were encouraged to participate to challenge themselves and have fun doing it.

“This is our third year doing this event,” said Bounthong.  “We had problems with the competitions, but now it’s more fun and engaging for everyone.”

Kelsey Vance uses her climbing partner, Bruce McConnell, to position herself on The Rock in the Student Rec Center on Feb. 14 during the partner climb event.
Sam Underwood/The Runner