By Lance Jordan, Sports Editor
The University of Missouri-St. Louis Recreation and Wellness Center (RWC) is hosting its second bouldering competition on April 20. The first bouldering competition required students to register for the free event. This year, the bouldering competition will require no registration, and encourages students to drop in and participate.
“Last year, we didn’t have as many participants as I would’ve liked, but the people who did come had a lot of fun,” said Sherman Brawner, senior, criminology and criminal justice, and climbing wall attendant at the RWC.
In the lower level of the RWC, the climbing center is located next to the equipment room, and to the right of the stairwell. The bouldering wall, which is color-coded with different routes, has no ropes or harness, which could be intimidating to some, but the bouldering wall area is equipped with padded flooring. The area is also staffed with attendants for competitor’s protection, making this a fun, safe, and free climbing experience.
The competition will be altered slightly from last year, in which a few competitors dominated the competition, to all the wall attendants’ surprise. “We had three guys that came, only one of them climbed often here. They all climbed frequently at other places like Upper Limits, and Climb So Ill. They knocked our socks off with how good they were; we need to make some hard stuff if they come back,” Brawner said.
Competitors will be divided based on ability and will compete in their respective divisions, as to avoid a beginner feeling discouraged when competing against a more advanced climber. Being an athlete in another sport doesn’t necessarily translate into success at climbing either, as Brawner has noticed.
“There are some very good athletes. Swim, basketball, baseball, football whatever it is, they come down here try to do it and go, ‘Wow I didn’t know it was that hard,’ ” Brawner said. Brawner explains, “The better you get and the farther along you go, you realize the less you want to use your upper body, and the more you want to use your legs.”
Brawner first started working in the UMSL call center before transferring over to the RWC, wanting a job that was more physically rewarding. During his time as an attendant, he has seen a large amount of students come and attempt the climbing wall at least once. “The way that I’ve seen it, 80-90 percent that have used the wall have used once or twice to see how it was, then they don’t come back. But for the 10-20 percent that come back frequently, I think they definitely benefit from it.” Brawner said.
Last year’s winners received free guest passes to Climb So Ill, which is still being determined as a prize this year. The event is between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. on April 20; students who are interested should drop by the free event.