Climbing club emphasizes social aspect of sport


The Climbing Club at St. Edward’s consists of 14 members. 

The Climbing Club, created this semester, has elevated their way to popularity. Climbing brings joy, which is what many of the climbers feel when they get that high.

Club President Maria Bisaga started climbing almost two years ago, back when she was in high school.

“The thing that attracted me to climbing was the strong community; it was composed of a variety of people,” Bisaga said. “You’ll find 15-year-olds, plenty of students, and even rich hippies with software patents. It’s so easy to fit in and have fun.”

Club Vice President Marie Therese Larochelle believes climbing is the ultimate competition.

“Climbing is a very social sport, yet you are ultimately competing with yourself,” Larochelle said. “I remember the first time (I climbed). The fear of the unknown met with the overwhelming feeling that came over me when I made it to the top and looked out over what I had accomplished.”

Bisaga contributes as well.

“Climbing outdoors is just a therapeutic experience. You spend the day surrounded by nature and with good friends,” Bisaga said. “This kind of break is exactly what a stressed-out student needs everyone once in a while.”

There are 14 members that climb consistently, many of them brand new.

“I wanted to bring all the climbers of St. Edward’s University together and teach others that are interested,” Bisaga said. “We introduced them to bouldering, (which is) climbing without ropes, generally under 20 feet. It’s a great introduction to climbing because all you need is climbing shoes. After that, we move on to belaying.”

The ultimate challenge for the club is creating a budget. Currently, practicing at the South Austin Rock Gym is costly. A monthly club membership is $50, which gives access to two gyms, yoga and a powerhouse workout. However, gear is also needed.

“It would be nice to have gear one day to let people try it out before investing in his or her own or having to rent it out from the gym,” Larochelle said.

This semester, the club has hosted numerous events, including a bouldering clinic and several belay classes. During Halloween weekend, the group went to Reimer’s Ranch, a climbing sanctuary just past Hamilton Pool in Dripping Springs. There, they climbed in their costumes.

“One of the best parts about being in the Climbing Club is that we get to climb outdoors, and having all of your friends cheering you on down below to help you get past the crux (the most challenging part of that particular climbing routine),” member Lauren Cybulska said.

Looking forward, the club hopes to continue to grow.

“We hope next semester we will have more members with certification and gear so we will be able to travel together more as a group,” Larochelle said. “A good climber develops trust in themselves, their partners and nature. They are able to shut out the world and focus on the task at hand, contemplate their next move and just go.”