Beyond the Wall

Temple students in front of Red Rocks Mountain range in Las Vegas

Written by Claire Meaney, Class of 2017, English/Asian Studies Majors, Climbing Wall Student Staff Member

“When you’re there, you feel like you’re on a different planet.” Current climbing wall staff member, Ashley Xu laughed as she recounted her recent trip to the Red Rocks, a popular climbing destination located near Las Vegas, Nevada. The cooler temperatures in the mid to late winter make it a great climbing location for the frigid months on the east coast. Ashley, along with fellow climbing wall staff member, Rhys Sandberg, and two recent Temple graduates, Morgan Ash and Wesley Pickett, planned the trip and traveled west in January.

The four all had different levels of experience prior to coming to the climbing wall at Temple. Morgan, had grown up surrounded by boulder fields and waterfalls, and was always climbing with his brother growing up. Wesley, had a common interest in climbing with his friends for years, though he only grew more serious about the sport within the last year. Rhys had first tried rock climbing at a summer camp when he was younger. Ashley had gone to a local rock climbing gym only three years ago to try out the sport.

However, it is likely these four would not have met if not for Temple’s climbing wall. “We wouldn’t be friends. I wouldn’t have ever met them otherwise,” Wes admitted, echoing the sentiments of the other three Temple climbers from the trip. Temple’s climbing wall allowed this group with a diverse set of interests to come together and forge a strong bond. When asked about the climbing wall, Rhys remarked, “it’s a very diverse community, but we all have this similar love for climbing and it brings us all together here. It’s allowed me to meet and befriend a lot of people I wouldn’t talk to normally.” In that way, the climbing wall at Temple reflects the climbing community at large. People from different places and in entirely different stages in their lives can all meet. As a whole, the community is very welcoming and encouraging, especially with people who are just learning the sport. The same can be said when traveling to a far-off climbing destination.

“When we were out at Red Rocks, we met a lot of people from Michigan, some locals, people from other countries. They’d ask if we wanted to use their gear if it was already set up. It was really communal and supportive,” Morgan explained, continuing on to talk about the trip itself. “It’s always cool to go to places you haven’t been before and experience other kinds of climbing.”

With more and more people giving the sport a shot, the climbing community at Temple is growing daily. “I love seeing people get so excited about the sport,” Ashley commented, smiling as a new climber finished a route. “It’s great to be able to watch people grow, and help them grow, as climbers.”

Despite being from different majors and backgrounds, the people at the climbing wall come together to do something new everyday, collaborating and sharing their experiences. These friendships allow for a diverse community to grow, and presents new opportunities to travel and connect with people from all over the world.