The South Superior Climbing Club (SSCC) and Down Wind Sports sponsored the annual Climb U.P. rock-climbing event last weekend, a four-day climbing event for local climbers.
The event is a once-a-year opportunity for local climbers to get a taste of what the Upper Peninsula climbing scene has to offer, to help beginners get a start in a unique sport and to connect the Marquette climbing community with like-minded NMU students.
“One purpose of this event is for the Midwest chapter of the American Alpine Club to host an event for their members,” said Jason Schneider, a Marquette city councilman and local climber. “This was the most successful event that they’ve hosted yet.”
The Climb U.P. events took climbers to Big Bay, Little Presque, Silver Mountain and Palmer for various climbing-related activities, including trail maintenance and cleaning, skill building, casual climbing and camping.
“The clean-up in Palmer on the first day was with permission from the property owners,” Schneider said. “It was the first time in the U.P. that students, community members and property owners got together to insure that private property was available for use (by climbers and others).”
However, this is not the only climbing event that the South Superior Climbing Club, a cooperation of climbing community members and NMU students, has going on this fall.
Bi-weekly social climbs in the past weeks will continue into the fall when weather permits and indoor events will begin soon as well, said SSCC president Neil Poglese.
“Upcoming events are a continuation of our social climbs and skill builder workshops, which will be at AAA (in Big Bay) and Slugs Bluff in Palmer,” said Poglese, a junior physiology major. “These skill builder social climbs are aimed at developing the skills of club members at all levels to allow them to reach their goals as a climber.”
Some skills that can be learned at the clubs’ social climbs include knot-tying, belaying, building anchors and introductions into new styles of climbing.
According to Poglese, social climbs are the best way to get a feel for climbing if you’re just starting out in the sport, as the club brings extra equipment to use and there are many certified climbers on hand.
“It’s an opportunity for beginners to invest in equipment that they are familiar with or comfortable with instead of trial and error,” Poglese said of the club’s available gear. “Because climbing equipment is so expensive, this reduces cost for climbers in the long run.”
The indoor wall at the Outdoor Recreation Center in the PEIF, which is free with a PEIF pass and $5 without, is another option for students interested in climbing.
Many members of the SSCC work at the Outdoor Recreation Center and can be vital resources for beginners who don’t know where to begin in their climbing.
“A lot of our club members work at or train at the climbing wall when not outside,” Poglese said. “It’s a great controlled environment to learn a few of the basics and meet fellow students who climb. It’s also a great place to hear the latest on what routes are hot and what climbing locations have some of the best routes in the area.”
Event updates can be found on the SSCC Facebook page, which keeps members updated on climbing events, changes in routes and access to routes.
For more information on open climbing times at the ORC, call (906) 227-2210.