Danny Buchell

The Florida Southern Climbing Club has quickly emerged this semester as one of the fastest growing clubs on campus. 

The Climbing Club is still experiencing a steady rise in membership throughout the current semester. The club’s Vice President, John Jack Lewis, a third year Computer Science major, gives credit to the new climbing wall at the FSC Nina B. Hollis Wellness Center as the main reason for the club’s growth in numbers. 

“[The FSC Wall] has brought even more climbing members,” Lewis said. “I think we’ve added maybe 20 people in the middle of the semester, during a pandemic, which is pretty impressive.”

Despite all this recent excitement surrounding the Wellness Center’s new wall, the Climbing Club is not a new addition to Florida Southern. This semester marks their third year on campus as an active club. 

In past years, members of the club have carpooled to climbing facilities in Orlando, St. Petersburg and Tampa in order to climb. Lewis and other members of the club note that these are always great experiences but organizing such trips can be difficult. 

“Trying to organize a thing that requires organizing who’s going to drive, and how people can carpool just gets pretty difficult,” Lewis said. 

Lewis recognized Vertical Ventures in St. Petersburg as one of the clubs favorite off-campus climbing destinations prior to the installment of the Wellness Center wall. 

As for the future of the club, they intend to still travel for different climbing experiences, but they are grateful to have a “home wall” they can climb and practice on regularly. 

The club is currently reserving the wall from 7:45-9:30 on Wednesday evenings for private climbing sessions. They have said these times are available for change based on people’s availability but regardless, they always try to reserve the wall for weekly climbing time together. 

The club’s goal for these private sessions is to create an opportunity for both experienced and inexperienced climbers to become active members of the Climbing Club and continue improving. 

Emily Eidenschink, a second year Exercise Science major, joined the club this year and says she is still fairly new to climbing. She confirmed that the private climbing sessions achieve the club’s goal. 

“Private climbing times are super fun,” Eidenschink said. “There’s not as many people at the wall, so you can try as many courses as you want and everyone there is very experienced so you can get a lot of good advice.” 

With this exciting weekly opportunity to improve at climbing, Lewis said that contrary to popular belief, climbing isn’t about being super strong and in shape. Rather he emphasizes that climbing is for everyone, which is a message that the FSC Climbing Club hopes to share with everyone. 

“If you’re even remotely interested, in the smallest way, you got to just go for it and get started,” Lewis said. “The more you persevere the better you’ll get.”

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