Ridge Roamers host Keweenaw Climbing Competition


The MTU Ridge Roamers. Photo provided by Thomas Draper.

Thomas Draper

Michigan Tech student organization bi-annual event open to all.

The Ridge Roamers club of Michigan Tech is  hosting its bi-annual Keweenaw Climbing  Competition on Saturday, Nov. 12th from  9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the SDC climbing wall.  In this competition, participants will demonstrate their climbing ability on various difficulty divisions on the roped climbs. The club has been hosting this event for over 15 years.  

The club has organized the difficulty divisions by youth, beginner, intermediate, and advanced.  The event is open to anyone who pays the $10  early entry fee, or $15 entry fee at the door.  

Each individual competing has two attempts to climb as high as they can on three different routes. Each of the routes is on different vertical terrain including a completely vertical wall, a wall with a triangular bulge, and a wall that contains a 10 ft roof section.  

Each climber will receive a score corresponding to how high they were able to reach on each respective route and ranked from highest to lowest. The top three climbers in each division choose from a variety of prizes. This year, Studio  13 of downtown Houghton has sponsored the  event with a few prizes according to Nolan  Ruble, president of the Ridge Roamers club. 

“We try to develop a welcoming atmosphere  with this event to allow anyone to come and see what they’re capable of,” Ruble said.  

To encourage fair competition between  divisions, Ruble noted that if a participant climbs to the top of two routes in their respective division, they are automatically advanced to the next difficulty division. This prevents climbers  signing up for divisions that are too easy for their skill level and dominating the competition.  

Last Friday night, the club hosted a pizza party  event where volunteers went to the SDC to help  take down all the climbing holds and power wash  them in preparation of the competition  according to Anthony Bashur, 6th year  

mechanical engineering student and member of  Ridge Roamers.  

Ruble noted that the Ridge Roamers did not host their normal open climb hours while members of the club were creating the competition climbing routes.  

The event typically attracts upwards of 60  participants, most of which are Michigan Tech students but many of which are community members. Climbers from the Marquette area even travel the distance to participate in the event.  

Bashur noted that the respective climbing clubs of Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan  University enjoy the opportunity for friendly competition at the event.