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The North Wind

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Opinion — Its okay to outgrow your college friends
Opinion — It's okay to outgrow your college friends
Megan PoeApril 12, 2024

SSCC: Northern’s contribution to Marquette’s climbing scene

Photo by Scott Crady courtesy of Georgia Harrison: Joseph Thill climbing at the AAA wall in Marquette.

Whether you’re a beginner who can only make your way up the easy route at your gym’s rock wall, you’re a seasoned veteran who can scale any rock that you step in front of or you’re somewhere in-between, the South Superior Climbing Club has a place for you.

Eric Krause, president of the NMU student organization, wants people to get excited to climb and to spend more time outdoors helping their local climbing community.

The group goes on various social climbs throughout the year. These climbs tend to take place at closer climbing locations, like Cliffs Ridge and Marquette Mountain Krause explained.“The people with a lot of equipment will show up a couple hours early and set up,” Krause said.

Set-up includes putting the top ropes and anchors on the rock they’re going to climb. Once other members show up, the climbing begins. Krause said that once people start climbing, everything is a little more fun. More experienced group members are willing and open to help, and as these events are geared more toward people who don’t have the equipment or training to climb outside so it’s an easy way to get involved.

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The South Superior Climbing Club takes a yearly trip to Arkansas, a pristine state for climbing due to its uneven and rocky terrain. There, the group visits Horseshoe Canyon, which has over 300 different routes for climbers of all levels of experience.

The trip is a big draw for the club, and it’s a good opportunity to get new members interested and active, said Krause.

“The main goal [of the club] is to get people to climb outside,” he said.

Another goal of the club is to educate members on exactly how much work goes into a simple rock climbing event.

All the proceeds from the optional membership fee go to paying for insurance for the AAA wall—another spot frequented by the club—provided by the Upper Peninsula Climbers Coalition.

Georgia Harrison, vice president of the SSCC said that workdays are important for the club’s success.“We go out and clean trails and make the area look nice… It costs money to maintain these areas, it doesn’t just happen,” she said.

So, they pay insurance and do all this upkeep, but why not just climb on a rock wall inside?

Harrison said that rock walls are a great way for beginners to start climbing and for experienced climbers to hone specific skills, but outdoor climbs are where it all comes together.

“I always feel a stronger connection to the area after I climb there,” she said.

Most indoor rock walls have little duct-tape-marked paths that indicate skill level, and you are supposed to stay on those pre-marked paths. The freedom of the outdoors is what makes outdoor climbing different.

“There’s no duct tape to tell me where to put my hands,” Harrison said.

The 12th annual Reel Rock is coming to Marquette 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 10 in Jamrich room 1100. Reel Rock is a collection of high-adrenaline, high-adventure short films about climbing. One film features the former best climber in the world doing a deep water solo climb, which means he’s climbing without harnesses over very deep water, just in case, while another film features a disabled climber.

Krause mentioned that this event gets the whole group together one last time before the close of climbing season.“It’s a great way to get people excited for climbing,” he said.

The SSCC is hosting a Midnight Madness event right after Reel Rock 12 at the PEIF. It will begin at 10 p.m., featuring rock wall climbing under only the safety lights.

“Doing this gives us the opportunity to go climb right after we watch the films,” said Harrison.

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