Oberlin Rock Wall Supports Thriving Club


Photo by Erin Koo, Photo Editor

The Oberlin Rock Wall offers fun and recreation.

ExCo courses and club activities have been hallmarks of Oberlin, standing as prototypical examples of the College’s selection of unique educational and extracurricular opportunities. Obies have the liberty to do, learn, and teach others about practically anything we put our minds to, and nowhere is that freedom more apparent than within the rock-climbing community.

Tucked discreetly into a corner of Philips gym, Oberlin’s climbing wall is high quality with a 25-foot-tall pillar and 360-square foot bouldering cave to match.

“I came from a competitive climbing background, so it was really important to me that Oberlin has a climbing wall on campus — it’s also pretty special since we’re such a small school,” College fourth-year Aidan Cowie said. “During my four years here, we’ve been able to grow the wall and the climbing community, and it’s been really exciting to see how much progress has been made.”

College fourth-year Cecilia Owen, who currently serves as vice president of the Oberlin College Rock Wall and helped revitalize the club during the pandemic, emphasized the impact the club had made on her time at the College.

“The climbing community here has been such a big part of my life and experience at Oberlin, and some of my best friends here I met while climbing,” Owen said.

“It’s been such a pleasure watching the community grow so much in the past couple of years. Just the fact that we have a climbing wall and a space to practice what we love is super special, but seeing how welcoming and open it is and how many people we’ve introduced to the sport has been one of the highlights of my time here.”

The Rock Wall’s infrastructure and welcoming community have led the organization to impressive accomplishments.

“We had a climbing competition this past weekend, and it was a total success,” Owen said. “We had 28 brand-new climbs, and dozens of people showed up to compete. I’m so glad to know that when I graduate, the wall and climbing club will continue on.”

Cowie emphasized the necessity of inclusivity for the club and the importance of publicity and outreach to get students involved.

“We’re dedicated to making the wall as safe and inclusive as possible, offering climbs for all levels — from complete beginner to lifelong climbers,” Cowie said. “A lot of people still don’t know that Oberlin even has a climbing wall, so we’ve worked really hard to bring new people into our space. Everything at the wall is completely free, and we provide gear and instruction to anyone who needs it. The climbing club has been a quintessential part of my time at Oberlin and I’m so excited to see this space that has been my home for the last four years becoming home to a new group of Obie climbers.”

With its strong foundation as a student organization, and open access to its wall and gear, the Oberlin College Rock Wall has managed to establish a solid, long lasting legacy on campus.