Article Written by Zachary Stambaugh. Photo by Zachary Stambaugh.

The St. Cloud State fitness center is the perfect place for students to workout. For more daring students, it is also home to one of the most exciting yet demanding fitness opportunities: the Mountain Dew rock climbing wall.

Located in the basement of the campus fitness center, the Mountain Dew rock climbing wall is a unique and challenging way for students to explore their fitness interests. The wall also provides students the opportunity to pursue a new endeavor that will keep them immersed in a healthy lifestyle.

Open Monday through Friday from 4 to 8 p.m., the Mountain Dew rock climbing wall provides students with plenty of opportunities to try it out. Students with a membership to the recreation center are welcome to use the wall at any time while it is open. For those without a membership, there are a couple of options available. Students can either spend $40 for a semester membership or $10 for a day pass to use the wall.

While the wall does require some knowledge and practice in order to be used effectively, students of all skill levels are welcome to stop by and try it out. With the assistance of experienced climbers, newcomers can learn the ropes relatively quickly. The experienced climbers are more than willing to offer advice and encouragement to those who are new to climbing or who may feel intimidated by the wall.

“They don’t have to have any experience at all,” said Hannah Noah, president of the Outdoor Adventure Climbing Club. “They can just come in, and the person working there will belay for them.”

The wall offers a number of different routes that climbers can try out. Climbers can start out with beginner-friendly routes and progress to more difficult climbs as they gain experience. Every route offers a different opportunity for climbers to put their skills to the test.

“We have a couple of different routes that are pretty easy in terms of skill level,” said Jackson Wencl, vice president of the Outdoor Adventure Climbing Club. “For those that might already know how to climb, we have some pretty hard routes as well.”

In addition to being a unique and challenging form of exercise, climbing has a number of positive effects on both physical and mental health. The main muscle groups are worked out while climbing, making it an effective full-body workout.

“You use a lot of the muscles that you don’t normally use in your everyday life,” said Wencl. “You gain a lot of muscle endurance.”

Climbing is also a terrific way to lower stress and enhance mental well-being, as it helps students to establish a sense of community with fellow climbers.

“A lot of members will spend hours there,” said avid climber Eion Ness. “It’s just a good environment to hang out in even if you’re not on the wall.”

The Mountain Dew rock climbing wall gives St. Cloud State students a unique and challenging workout experience, as it offers chances for climbers of all experience levels to come together and work as a community. It is strongly recommended that students who might still feel intimidated by the wall to stop by and try it out sometime. It is one of the most unique fitness opportunities that St. Cloud State has.

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