Reaching new heights

Wrights State students use indoor climbing wall to prepare for exciting outdoor adventures

If you have traveled through the Student Union Atrium in the past several months you may have noticed a lot of activity at the Campus Recreation indoor climbing gym. The sounds of metal claps and power tools often fill the air in the afternoon.

The 31-foot wall — which includes a 14-foot bouldering climb — has gained in popularity in the past year thanks to the creation of the Wright State Climbing Club.

What started as two members wanting to try something new has blossomed into almost two dozen Raiders training several days per week and traveling the country for thrills and adventures.

“We recently had our club climbing group go to Squamish in British Columbia, Canada, to attempt the world’s tallest sport climbing route,” said Erin Compaleo, assistant director of outdoor recreations.

Compaleo said one of the main reasons the Campus Recreation climbing gym has been extremely active recently is because the students in the club have been changing the routes on the wall weekly, adding to a new experience every time students visit.

The difficult task of changing the hundreds of grips on the wall involves a setter who is suspended in the air while holding a cordless drill along with a dangling bucket of grips of different shapes and sizes waiting to be fastened to the climbing wall.

“It’s physically demanding and a puzzle,” said Compaleo. “Challenges range from easy to medium to difficult.”

Compalleo said she sees novice student climbers develop their skills at the indoor gym and then progress to an outdoor climb.

Elijah Capasso, who joined the Climbing Club last year, said after training on the indoor wall he was excited to see if his abilities transferred outdoors.

“As you climb outside you kind of get a library of movements of things you’ve done,” said Capasso, who majors in history. “So that way when people go outside, they’re not super shocked by how much harder and crazier it is.”

Cappasso and club member Alex Peterson recently scaled Squamish and Red River Gorge in Cincinnati.

“I think what makes Wright State’s Climbing Club so unique is the scope of how much we do,” said Peterson, who majors in biological sciences.

Peterson also tribute some of the club’s recent growth to its members’ efforts to document their trips with photography and videos on social media.

“I think when people see some of the cool stuff, we do they are kind of inspired,” said Peterson.

Compaleo said she is proud of the students for creating a welcoming environment and encouraging atmosphere for everyone who wants to participate in the Climbing Club.

For more information about the climbing gym visit

Comments are closed.