Rocks and Ropes: Climbing is the new up and coming PE class

by Denae McGaha, Guest Writer

Climbing Article
Nicole Schalk and Emma Bauman climb for PE credit.
Photo Credit: Rachel Reyonalds

Getting fit is getting fun for Pacific Lutheran University students with the new option of rock climbing for Physical Education credits.
New this semester, PLU joined with Edgeworks Climbing Gym in Tacoma to offer a P.E. rock-climbing course.
Over the course of eight weeks, students of all levels meet at Edgeworks to learn techniques in belaying, bouldering and everything in between.
The course instructor, Andy Davis, is more than suited to teach them. An Edgeworks employee, Davis has been climbing for 14 years and instructing for 13 of them.
Davis is an eager, experienced climbing coach who wants each student to find fun and fitness in climbing.
With experience leading National Outdoor Leadership School courses, certifications from the American Mountain Guide Association and USA Climbing and a climbing record stretching from Canada to Patagonia, Davis is experienced and excited to share.
“I teach and guide every age imaginable, but enjoy teaching college outdoor education courses like the climbing course I teach at PLU the most,” Davis said.
Students don’t need climbing experience to take the course but do have to pay a fee. The fee pays for a student membership that includes all necessary climbing equipment, fitness classes, guest passes, and access to the gym during all hours of operation.
Davis requires at least three climbing sessions outside of class to make the grade. An outdoor climbing excursion is also included in the class.
Although there is a course fee, some may say the benefits of the class are priceless. Richard Olson, senior, said he gained personal awareness through the course.
“I learned how to be honest about and how to overcome mental, technical, and physical boundaries,” Olson said.
Life skills such as these are exactly what Davis wants students to learn from the course.
“I believe that students will take away a greater sense of confidence in what they are capable of,” Davis said. “Climbing strengthens your mind and body in ways that benefit you far beyond the cliffs.”
Although the course was listed under Banner Web as a “Special Topic,” students will likely have the opportunity to experience it for years to come.
“The future looks bright,” Davis said. “I would also be interested in adding some more advanced classes to provide a progression for students who would like to pursue climbing further.”
Students interested in rock climbing as a PE class, visit the plu.edu/physical-education for more information on PE credits.
If you are interested in climbing for fun, no matter the credits, visit https://plu.edu/a/asplu-outdoor-recreation for a schedule of climbing trips and other adventures

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