Messiah’s Outdoors Club was thrilled to announce the re-opening of their bouldering wall this September in the Loft garage. 

Indoor rock climbing is a popular activity that the Outdoors Club offers on campus, and offering it for free was a tremendous blessing for them. However, according to Lauren Parrish,  director of leadership development for the Outdoors Club, COVID-19 took away much of the rock climbing experience. 

“The climbing community at Messiah really felt the effects of the original COVID-19 restrictions, with the bouldering wall being closed for the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters, as well as travel to climb off-campus being restricted,” Parrish said.

The bouldering wall has been at Messiah for many years, even before it was a part of the Outdoors Club. Initially, it was established and run by the former Adventure Education department. So, after COVID restrictions loosened, there was a push to get rock-climbing back as an activity while honoring the space that they had inherited. 

The process of refurbishing the wall was extensive with many moving parts, the largest of those being the removal of mold from the space’s crash pads. Crash pads, used to protect climbers while falling, are essential to the bouldering wall’s safety. 

Removing the mold would take dedicated resources. Parrish worked with her advisor, Kevin Ogden, to write a proposal for approval of the project and its funding. 

“Once it was approved by the SGA, the first step was to have the mold professionally removed and the space sanitized,” Parrish said.

After the refurbishing, David Grimm was brought in to be the Bouldering Wall Executive. Grimm sets climbing routes and oversees everything bouldering wall related. 

Finally, after 13 months of work and preparation, the bouldering wall officially reopened. Since its reopening, the wall has been quite popular as it has had 50 new climbers, many of which have returned. 

“On behalf of myself and the Outdoors Club, I would like to extend an extremely heartfelt thank you to every person who contributed to this project. Success would not have been possible without all of you,” Parrish said.

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