Climb through Movember Madness

By Aaron J. Frantz

The Andrews Student Recreation and Wellness Center is holding its Movember Madness Reverse Climbing Competition.

Movember is an annual event — often involving the growing of moustaches to raise awareness for men’s health issues such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer and suicide.  

At the rec, staff members mark the month by creating new rock wall routes each week that follow different themes and climbing them in a friendly competition. Students use their loose change to bet on which staff member they believe will win. 

R.J. Markowitz, coordinator of Youngstown State University’s Adventure Recreation, is responsible for starting the competition.

“We came up with the reverse climbing competition, and what this means is that our patrons will see our route-setters competing against each other to see who can climb the best route,” Markowitz said. “Throughout the week, patrons can also come in and climb those routes and vote on which of those routes are the best.” 

He created this version of Movember Madness after postponing it last year due to COVID-19. 

“The following week, one of two route-setters will be eliminated, and we will go on to the next climb of the competition until we are left with one victor,” he said. 

Bailey Simon, a senior marketing major and rec center staff member, is one of the route-setters and climbers for this year’s competition. 

“My goal is to set some routes people enjoy. I always really like when we get people regularly coming back,” Simon said. “With being a multi-week program, we hope this is a positive way to get people to come back on a weekly basis.” 

Kierra Stewart, a physical therapy graduate student with an exercise science degree, is participating in the competition as a climber and route-setter. 

“We really want people to come out and climb the routes because we all love rock-climbing,” Stewart said. “We want to share our passion with others, and it is for a great cause.” 

Markowitz said the program typically brings in 20-40 climbers who donate and take turns climbing the routes.

“We will have our patrons donate change to the routes they like the most. We are planning to donate all proceeds to a Movember charitable organization,” he said. “These organizations promote both physical and mental well-being for men affected by prostate or testicular cancer.”

Markowitz said the competition has several goals in mind: to raise money, and to get adventure rec staff-members actively engaged ,as well as to give the patrons a fun and exciting challenge. 

The program runs Nov. 1- Dec. 15.