By Kyle Ferraro
Youngstown State University’s Bouldering Competition is making its return to campus. Restrictions established due to the pandemic kept the competition from being held the last two years.
Bouldering is a form of rock climbing on a 12- to 14-foot wall that involves no ropes or harnesses. Bouldering is a more technical form of rock climbing where endurance is not as coveted as other types of climbing, such as top roping and lead climbing.
R.J. Markowitz, the coordinator of YSU Adventure Recreation, is overseeing the event. Markowitz and his team of students are expecting a good turnout for the competition despite the hiatus.
“We are hoping for a decent turnout,” Markowitz said. “Obviously, we hope for the best, expect the worst and prepare for the worst. We have been getting the word out there to other universities, and we are getting the word out on campus.”
Universities that have sent competitors before include Akron, Slippery Rock, Edinboro, Clarion and West Virginia.
“We really focus in on the technical nature of climbing when you’re bouldering versus the endurance sport of top roping or lead climbing,” Markowitz said of the difference between the types of rock climbing.
Event organizers hope to bring like-minded individuals together for a fun day of competition. There will also be prizes and raffles available to win.
“The climbing community here in the Midwest is a lot smaller, so the one thing people like is how social the event is,” Markowitz said. “You’re meeting people from other universities, [and] you’re meeting people with similar, unique hobbies.”
Safety is always a concern when rock climbing, especially in bouldering, due to the lack of harnesses. Markowitz and Riley Campbell, student rock wall supervisor and senior nursing student, respectively, have safety measures in place.
“We have staff that is going to be working the competition, and we all climb. We actually set the routes so we know the areas where you’re going to want to be spotted,” Campbell said. “We also have crash pads that line the area of the rock wall.”
There is risk involved in climbing, just like any sport.
“We do everything in our power to limit injury. We give a little safety talk prior to the event,” Markowitz said. “Our staff is present to help with spotting, and our mats are brand new.”
Caroline Manjerovic, a freshman computer science major, is planning to compete. Manjerovic has been climbing for four years and is looking forward to the event.
“For me, the competition is the first opportunity I’ll have to see how I stack up against other climbers,” Manjerovic said.
Preregistration open until 7 p.m. Feb. 25 The fee to participate is $15 for students and members, and $20 for non-members. Registration on the day of the event begins at 10 a.m. and costs $25.
The event is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 26 at the Andrews Student Recreation and Wellness Center.