The Mountain Goat Climbing Series

Less than an hour into the event, over 20 students gathered in the fitness center at the Mountain Goat Climbing Series events. Upbeat music filled the gym, chips, cookies and soda sat open on a table, and laughs and cheers of encouragement were heard as climbers reached the top of the climbing rock.

The climbing rock, located in the fitness center, is open everyday of the week. This event serves as an outreach to students to come out, have fun, and meet cool new people all while challenging yourself. Behind the planning of the event are seniors Dylan Herman-Dunphy, an exercise science and pre-med major, and Malcolm Wilbur, with a major in outdoor adventure leadership.

“We’ve been working on this event for 3 weeks now” said Wilbur. “It’s more of a time where people can come climb, try new routes and push themselves. But it’s more fun than competitive. It’s more about people trying and getting the chance to try different routes.”

Throughout the event, encouragement seemed to make the environment a welcoming place. High fives and shouts of “keep going” “you got this” “Go! Go! Go!” were echoed by almost every participant of the event.

“I would say there’s a really strong community of people here who are really supportive and want to just get together and have fun” Wilbur stated.

“There were like 6 people climbing when I started here at Ithaca. I started climbing at the age of 10 so I started trying to grow the community and I got my friends to try to start it too,” said Dylan.

The series started about three years ago and it happens twice every academic school year. Although the climbing rock is a staple part of the fitness center, this event is one that is well advertised and encourages students to come. The date was planned the week before finals week in order to give students that chill, down-time event before the stress, papers and studying begins.

“It’s a big stress relief after classes and it’s good to be around people who like doing it,” said Christina Fleming a freshman Film, Photography, and Visual Arts major. “I like that it makes exercising fun. Because I never did sports other than rock climbing so this just makes it fun. I probably wouldn’t work out if I didn’t come here everyday,” she added.

Rock climbing is an activity in which participants push themselves to climb up a series of rock formations and reach the furthest possible height up. It requires lots of endurance strategy and determination. This makes it a fun activity. “I like the puzzle of it,” said Wilbur. “Each route is a different set but its fun to work through to see if we can get through it. Any aspect of it.”

Stress. It wasn’t a word in any one of these participants’ thoughts this cool Sunday evening. The music continued, the vibes were right, and if anything, teamwork and encouragement echoed the loudest in the fitness center.