At 6:45 on Tuesday night in Merrill Gymnasium, students flex their muscles, train their bodies, and exercise parts of their minds untapped by academics.

“It’s really just a puzzle,” says Sam Onion ’20 of Wayne, Maine, a geology major, as he takes on the climbing wall, where the only equipment you need is climbing shoes. “You get to look at the wall and try to figure out how to position your body so that you can make it to the top.”

The wall is at the far end of the Merrill field house, which on this night is otherwise filled with track and field athletes running, jumping, and throwing under the guidance of their coaches.

Onion says he “loves being able to climb every day. Having this space is wonderful for being able to be active during the winter.”

The wall is the “perfect place to hang out while getting better at climbing,” adds Matt Glasgow ’21 of Salt Lake City, a sociology major.

Climbing is often thought of as a solitary endeavor. Not entirely, says sociology major Whitney Hadden ’19 of Manchester Village, Vt., “Climbing in general is a great way to meet people.”

But the individuality of the sport does let you “watch yourself get progressively better at it, which is really fun,” she adds. “It’s also a good way to relax and take your mind off of studying and forget about school for a little bit.”



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