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Students climb to new heights with updated rock wall

Cavin Meadows, a sophomore international business major, boulders on the updated Bishop’s Wall in Westminster College’s Health, Wellness and Athletic Center Sept. 29. Students and faculty have free access to the rock wall, according to Annie La Roche, a junior education and English literature custom major who has worked as a climbing wall manager and route setter for the last two years. Photo courtesy of Lalise Eshete. Image description: A white student wearing a black outfit climbs Bishop’s Wall in Westminster College’s Health, Wellness and Athletic Center.

Angular wood juts out in neat, modern patterns, dotted with multicolored plaster rocks, at the updated Bishop’s Wall in Westminster College’s Health, Wellness and Athletic Center.

At the grand opening celebration of the new climbing wall on Thursday, Sept. 29, a crowd of around twenty students and faculty took turns climbing the refurbished wall, some on lead belay (in a harness attached to a rope) and some bouldering (free climbing), while others watched and ate slices of pizza. 

Westminster’s climbing wall is finally up and running after about five months of construction and renovation.

Recent additions to the wall include wood paneling and a slight two-foot increase, according to Annie La Roche, a junior outdoor education and English literature custom major who has worked as a climbing wall manager and route setter for the last two years.

“I like [the wall] a lot,” La Roche said. “The design is very different but it’s a lot better for route setting and management.” 

Maxwell Fouad, a junior history major and climbing instructor, said the wall’s new appearance has also changed its overall effect.

“It gives more of a modern feel,” Fouad said. “[The new wall is] super hype, it’s got a crazy vibe to it,  being all wood like this.” 

The wall was given as an anonymous donation because the old one was due for a replacement, according to La Roche. La Roche said the donor wanted to support the rock climbing passion on campus. 

The wall’s revamp has inspired more people to climb, according to La Roche, who said it’s likely to get even busier. 

“Lately it’s been like 20-plus people climbing at the same time,” La Roche said. 

Cavin Meadows, a sophomore international business major, said he’d “definitely come a lot more often” now that the wall has changed.

Any student or faculty who decides to utilize the new wall can expect free equipment and instruction on different types of rock climbing, such as lead belay, top rope (attaching the rope while climbing) and bouldering, according to La Roche.

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Lalise Eshete (she/her) is a sophomore at Westminster studying communication. She loves all things horror, swimming and any chance to try new food. On any given day you could find her reading a cheap slasher book or polishing her dodgy piano-playing.

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