A small, dimly lit room with walls full of colorful rocks and music playing is the scene in this amazing place.
People try to get as high as they can – literally – before their arms and legs give out on them. Luckily, they have skilled workers watching to make sure there are no injuries.
They take a deep breath and put their foot on the first rock.
Then they reach up for the next rock.
Then they repeat that cycle until they reach the top, or at least as high as they can go.
Castleton University is known for many things, but having a rock wall may not be at the top of that list.
The wall is located in Castleton Hall, but there are a lot of students on campus who don’t know that it exists.
“The only way you are going to find out about the rock wall is if you know people who go now and mention it to you,” said sophomore Patrick Lucey.
Lucey is a regular at the wall, going “three days a week.”
Castleton does offer climbing classes, but they are held at a gym in Rutland.
Unless you know someone or happen to see it in passing, you may never find out about it.
KC Ambrose, a senior, only found out about the rock wall by chance.
“It wasn’t until my second semester freshman year,” she said. “One day I realized the wall was lit up and I’ve always been big into rock climbing, so I decided to come and try it out.”
Usually, there are at least two people working at the rock wall. One person to check people in and make sure they have a signed waiver, and one to belay the climber.
The person belaying makes sure that the climber is secure and safe while on the wall.
“We make sure that their equipment is safe, they feel safe, and I think it is super easy for them to have more fun,” said Dan Bosma, a senior rock wall worker.
For students like Bosma, the rock wall played a part in them choosing Castleton University.
“It’s kinda why I came,” he said.
But he’s the exception.
Many students believe that the university could be doing a better job of advertising the wall. They even have some suggestions on what to do.
“Advertising more with either flyers or getting a club started,” Ambrose said.
Lucey also believes that the school can do more on their end to get the word out.
“They can put up flyers in the Campus Center. They could have a program at the rock wall,” he said.
The wall is located right next to the fitness center, where most students go for a workout. Emily Cromie, a senior who works at the rock wall, believes that it is a good alternative to your usual workout routine.
“It doesn’t seem like it’s a good workout,” she said, “but it works cardio, it works muscle groups, it really does everything and it’s fun.”
Whether you are an experienced climber or a beginner, there are always friendly people there to help you along the way.
“They are very supportive, they don’t judge you if you go up less than two feet,” Lucey said.
The rock wall is open Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.