Students during Climbing practice. Sept., 19, 2017. Fort Worth, Texas

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For someone who has never rock climbed before the different colors on the wall might look like stuck pieces of gum under a desk, but for those on the Climbing team the different colored holds represent difficulty levels they want to overcome.

“It’s not just your body; it’s your brain too,” said Madison Hoy, the sophomore Climbing vice president. “Some of these routes really force you to think critically about your next move. You have to think two or three moves in advance because if you stop to think about it you can tense up and fall off.”

The Climbing team practices climbs like these every Tuesday from 9-11 p.m.  These practices prepare the members for competitions they participate in throughout the year.

The Climbing president, Jack Atzen, says the team competes every year with five to six members competing.

When the climbing team arrives at a competition, they are given a route on a wall with holds that they have never seen before. Points are given to climbers who use the correct holds on the most difficult routes and totaled together, Hoy explained. 

The attendance at competitions can vary each time.

“They can be pretty small,” Atzen said. “I’ve been to a competition where it was just them and the five of us. I’ve also been to one with ten other schools and a couple hundred people there.”

Climbing is an individual sport and Hoy said that is in part why not many people know about climbing.

“It’s one person, the rope and a wall,” Hoy said. “Some people might not find that as interesting as a team sport where people move and think like a unit.”

Atzen said the lack of places to climb in Texas also plays a factor in the lack of recognition for the sport. 

“The main thing is that the biggest climbing communities are in Colorado or Utah where there is a lot of terrain,” he said. “It’s a cultural thing too, places that are more outdoorsy and are close to walls have a huge impact.”

The Climbing team is less than five years old on TCU’s campus, but the passion for climbing has created unexpected friendships and hobbies.

“I actually got into it by accident at the activities fair and thought it sounded cool,” Hoy said. “I didn’t climb in high school and once I tried it I quickly became obsessed with it.”

Although Climbing is an individual sport, the members still support each other.

“I probably wouldn’t be as into it as I am now if it weren’t for those people I met from climbing,” Azten said.

To learn more about the Climbing team, email Jack Atzen or Madison Hoy at jack.atzen@tcu.edu and madison.c.hoy@tcu.edu or visit TCU Climbing on OrgSync.