South Superior Climbing Club gives students rock climbing experiences


SCALING UPWARD—A pair of South Superior Climbing Club members climbing in the Marquette area. The club offers plenty of experiences for those looking to get into rock climbing. Photo courtesy of Micah Carroll.

Dallas Wiertella, Staff Writer

The South Superior Climbing Club is a club at Northern Michigan University that facilitates rock climbing experiences for interested students or experienced climbers year round.

If a NMU student wishes to get back into climbing or to start a new experience, the South Superior Climbing Club offers a crowd to help get students involved. Club President Micah Carroll talked about the opportunities available to interested students. 

“I would consider our club a community,” Carroll said. “There’s a lot of students and community members not affiliated with Northern that climb. We see our club as a meeting place for experienced and inexperienced climbers to share knowledge with each other.”

Rock climbing can be an intimidating sport not only to participate in, but also to find a way into. The club seeks to offer a fun experience to anyone who is interested, and has students fully supported and set up to participate without the worry of having an experienced friend or buying the gear. 

“Our goal as an organization is to remove barriers into entering this community,” Carroll said. “We bring in really experienced climbers and we also receive funding through Northern to receive gear purchases. We understand that as college students it is difficult to buy gear.”

In the fall and spring season, the rock climbers find themselves around Marquette and the U.P. climbing laid-out paths made from years of community members. For winter activities, the club meets at the rock wall at the PEIF and joins the ice climb hosted by Down Wind Sports in Munising.

“It’s an opportunity for students to climb in the winter,” Carroll said. “But not on rock, on giant pillars of ice.”

The club is not a business and members claim to not be guides. Being free to join and open to all levels of climbers, they seek to uphold a community but are only providing the resources and their own knowledge along with a place to be. South Superior Climbing Club provides the place to have those experiences while not necessarily guiding, but facilitating, Carroll said. 

The club always is offering knowledge and experienced climbers to go and teach students their passion align with keeping the students safe. Vaughn Rodriguez, a leader within the club, shares his experiences and the great teaching opportunities they have. 

“I’ve been climbing with the club for about a year,” Rodriguez said. “The climbing club is definitely a great place to start and get climbing knowledge, you basically have to show up and you can start climbing anywhere around Marquette and the surrounding U.P.”

The club and their members look to give new members one of the first things every climber needs, a friend with experience. Focusing on their community aspect they treat every climb as a bonding moment. 

“We’re not necessarily guiding them,” Rodriguez said. “It’s more hanging out and introducing them to something they haven’t done before. There’s no monetary exchange, just lessons to be learned and fun to be had.” 

Holding events in the PEIF and around Marquette, there’s always something that a student can show up to and get involved in. With no boundaries and no entry cost whatsoever, the time for getting into rock climbing and having fun with a new activity is now. 

“It is really easy to come to our events and hop on a rope and start learning how to climb,” Carroll said. “We have just an epic community of people who are really interested in sharing their passion. It’s something that we are really proud of.”