It sits proudly over three stories high in the heart of Dolores Dore Eccles Health, Wellness and Athletic Center. Students flock to it with small Velcro cloth shoes in hand and chalk-beaten pants.
Westminster College’s rock wall, known as Bishop’s Wall, is a haven for many students to burn off energy, workout, challenge themselves and kick back with friends.
“It’s kind of cult like,” said Sarah Auchincloss, junior.
Auchincloss climbs every once in a while at the wall. “It’s really like their own world down there.”
The wall is over 46 feet of vertical and allows students to train in multiple disciplines of climbing for all climbing levels. The wall offers top rope, lead climbing, bouldering and crack problems.
Bishop’s Wall is not just there for climbing. The wall also provides a community where students can build friendships.
Zoe Zulauf, senior neuroscience major and climbing enthusiast, reflected back to her first year at Westminster and her wall memories.
“When I first came to Westminster, I had limited climbing experience,” Zulauf said. “Making friends wasn’t immediate. But at the climbing wall, I made my best friends at school for the past four years.”
Zulauf said she was grateful for the impact the wall has had on her friendships over her college career. On the other hand, she also wanted to encourage others outside of the niche climbing community to get involved.
Lexie Webber, junior nursing major, said the wall is where she too made her friends her first year of college. She said that the wall offered her clarity and she climbs every week now.
“I stop thinking about other outside things,” Webber said. “I have to be thinking right there in the moment or else I’ll fall.”
Webber also noted the other benefit of the wall.
“It’s better workout than in the weight room,” Webber said and grinned looking over toward the crowded weight room in the corner.
The wall also has programs to help new-comers and make others feel more comfortable like ladies only climbing hour and the introduction to climbing hour.
“I want to encourage more diverse people to go to the wall,” Zulauf said. “I want them to feel comfortable climbing there and being weird and trying new things.”
Zulauf smiled and expressed how she wanted everyone to share the love of the wall and feel included.
On Wednesday, March 25, students can enter in Westminster’s Outdoor Recreation Program bouldering competition.
The competition is open to all levels of climbers and will have three categories: beginner, intermediate and advanced.
Megan Gallagher, senior nursing major, has worked at Bishop’s Wall for over three years. She has entered into past competitions and has advice for potential competitors.
“They’re really fun,” Gallagher said. “Everyone is just supportive and it doesn’t really matter how you do. Just have fun and don’t take it too seriously. Stick around to watch the finals, because that’s really the best part.”
For interested climbers, registration is online and free to all students. Registration can be found on Facebook by searching for the Westminster College Bouldering Competition or on Westminster’s website under “forms.”
Not a climber, but still interested in the competition? The competition encourages spectators to come watch and cheer.
For Bishop Wall climbers, the wall is more than just a structure with plastic holds. It’s a community and provides a place for socialization, exercise and competition.
“Bishop’s Wall is where I made my best friends,” Zulauf said. “It’s a really fun social thing, stress relief from homework and a way to get active.”
Students can catch some climbing time Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., Friday through Saturday from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. or Sunday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. For more information about the wall or wall related questions, contact Jason Blauch, outdoor recreation program coordinator.