A few posts ago I mentioned I got a new job last spring semester as an attendant to the rock wall at the CRWC (Campus Recreation and Wellness Center). I lived in Iowa City this past summer to continue to work at the rock wall, and I am more than happy to report that by the end of the summer I was promoted to Climbing Wall Supervisor! My duties during my shift haven’t really changed, but I’m really excited about it. I absolutely love working there, and couldn’t ask for a better on-campus job. Well maybe earn more than minimum wage But regardless of that fact, I plan to work at the wall until I graduate and leave Iowa!
I also wanted to use this blog post as a shameless promotion for the wall that I love so much. Many people walk into the CRWC and see this gigantic climbing, watch people climb, but never pursue anything further. Sure, a 52.5ft wall might seem intimidating, but I feel like anything is always worth at least trying! You won’t know how you like it until you give it a shot! Working at the wall, I’ve seen people overcome their fear of heights countless times! That’s not always the case, but I’m always super impressed with the people who still give it a fair chance.
The climbing wall is not only a part of Recreational Services, but also Touch the Earth Outdoor Education and Recreation, which also has an Outdoor Rental Center (but I’ll write a different post about that).
Many people look at climbing, and probably don’t think much of it. I mean, you’re just climbing a wall…what’s the big deal right? Wrong. Climbing takes so much more. I’m not doctor or anatomy specialist, but rock climbing is pretty much a full body work out if you really push yourself to do well in it. You can even do it indoors or out. It also takes a lot of mental focus and your task at hand. Literally.
Climbing at the UI wall can also be quite the social seen. A lot of my really good friends now at Iowa are either my fellow staff members or people that come to the wall frequently. We call them our “regulars.” I never thought I would meet so many amazing people at the wall. Everyone is so friendly, even if you’re a brand new climber! It’s an extremely non-judgemental place and so welcoming to everyone.
But I’ll quit my rambling and give you so more general information about our wall!
11:00 AM – 1:00 PM (Bouldering Only)
This time is typically for our “regulars” because we only have 1 staff member working.
4:00 PM – 10:00 PM (Mon-Fri, Tues to 9:00pm)
These are our usual hours! Feel free to stop by!
Monday-Friday 6:30 & 8:30pm
Lessons teach you all the basics of rock climbing. How to tie the proper knots, to belaying, to tips for climbing in general! It’s a $20 fee for the class, and after you take the lesson you come back 24 hours or later to take a certification test, and if you past you earn your belay card! Your belay card and waivers last for a year from August to August.
Try Climbs are $5 and are exactly what they say. Try climb. It’s where a staff member belays you up our 52.5ft top roping wall and you give climbing a shot! These climbs can last anywhere from 5-20min depending on your skill level, or just general knack for climbing.
Bouldering is free for everyone! Although children under 13 need an adult with them. The same goes for the top roping wall. We have 2 different walls. The 52.5ft wall is what we call our top roping wall, which requires you to use ropes and harnesses in order to climb it. Our bouldering wall is anywhere from 10-12ft tall and requires no ropes or harnesses. There is a crash mat to break your fall since you won’t be supported by a rope. Bouldering is great for beginners and advanced climbers alike.
There are a lot more aspects to our climbing wall, but I won’t sit here and try and ramble about each and every part. The things I mentioned are typically where I get the most questions. For more detailed info check out this website! There is a lot more information about the climbing wall, the Outdoor Rental Center, and more!
My usual view when working a shift.
The wall is a fantastic part of the CRWC that a lot of students don’t take advantage of. I would encourage anyone to come stop by, ask questions, and just overall give it a shot! All the staff members are always willing to help you out and answer questions! We all love what we do, and don’t just see what we do as a tedious job to make some extra cash. We are all passionate about climbing, and work there because it’s what we love to do. I work 4 days a week, so I hope to see lots of new faces!