CSUB speed climbers tackle The Rock

Nate Sanchez

Sports Editor

On Wednesday, May 15, the Student Recreation Center held a speed climbing competition from 3-9 p.m.  at The Wall. Despite a small turnout for the free event, those who participated were greatly enthused. Henry Ngo is one such student. Ngo frequents the SRC to climb two to three days a week.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Ngo, a junior biology major said. “It’s cool to come in and climb for free and it’s also a great workout.”

The winner of the competition was determined by whoever completed the four sides of the Wall with the highest average time. Each climber was allotted three timed attempts at each side. Prizes of the competition included SRC t-shirts and chalk bags.

“We give them time to warm up so they can get a feel for the wall before they can climb it,” senior Spanish major Brenda Esparza said. Esparza kept track of the climbers’ times during the competition.

James Gellatly won the competition with an average time of 12.95 seconds. In second place came Enyinna Ayadiggnu, recording an average of 14.5 seconds. In third place was Kevin Ruiz with 15.8 seconds.

Whether one is a novice or an expert, strategy and planning mean as much to a climber as physical strength.  Pure strength can only get a climber so far.

“I was looking for the easy holds where you can launch yourself up,” Ngo said. “All that goes out the window when you’re up there, though.”

Of the seven participants in the competition, not a single one was a female student.

“You see more guys here on a daily basis than girls, and we don’t really know why,” Esparza said. “When I started climbing, I would see all these guys climbing hard routes and I thought, ‘There’s no way I can do this.'”

“Climbing takes time,” Esparza said. “I think girls get the impression that it’s all about strength and they just avoid it. It’s really just about ‘doing it.’ If you’re not falling, you’re not trying.”

The speed climbing competition will the last of the year. The bouldering competition takes place in the winter and the speed climbing competition takes place in the spring. Climbers are still welcome to come in to the SRC and climb recreationally.

The Wall, the rocklike sculpture after which the competition is named, is over 30 feet tall and is spotted with features and markers indicating courses of action for any climber brave enough to take on the challenge. CSUB students, male and female, can climb during the normal hours of operation at The Wall for free with a student ID.