Rock climbing club holds first meeting, votes on name “Ascenders”

Written by: Mathäus Schwarzen, staff writer

Dayton, Tenn.—The Bryan College rock climbing club held its formative interest meeting on January 27. The club took its first roster of members in the Mercer 131 conference room, and voted for administrative positions. They also decided on rules and regulations and naming itself the “Ascenders.” 

Jared Beaulieu was elected as club president, Benjamin Gardner as vice president and Lydia Smith as treasurer by the 16 in attendance. They plan to meet at areas in the surrounding community to begin climbing, and already have arrangements to receive instruction from a trainer at High Point Climbing and Fitness in Chattanooga. 

The Bryan College Ascenders met for the first time on January 27.

“At the beginning, it’s just going to be some folks who want to get together and climb on stuff,” said Dr. Daniel Gates, the club’s faculty sponsor. “Long-term, I’d like a climbing wall on campus.”

Gates, who is a longtime climbing enthusiast, will supply the club with his own equipment in order to get it off the ground. He is also a certified belayer for top-rope climbing, but he hopes the club will be able to engage in both top-rope climbing and bouldering with the use of crash pads—safety devices put beneath climbers in case of a fall. In the future, the club members would like to see the club as a competitive team, with sponsors from outdoor recreation companies.

A dream like that, however, is in the distant future. The club still has a long way to go before it can become an established part of the Bryan community. 

Although the College has agreed to allow its liability insurance cover the club at their events, it requires at least two members to be CPR certified. Several members are already certified, but Gates hopes to arrange for more to be trained. The club is also not going to be funded by the college. 

Despite the obstacles the club faces, it has the backing of multiple staff members. Director of Admissions Joshua Hood, for example, thinks the club will be a draw for prospective students.

“A lot of our students, and some faculty, enjoy rock climbing,” he said. “So, yeah, a club is a great addition to all the offerings Bryan has for prospective and current students.” 

The club will charge a $5 fee every semester in order to build funds to replace old equipment and purchase new additions. They plan to begin meeting on undecided dates this semester after their paperwork is approved by the College.

Mathäus Schwarzen is a staff writer for the Bryan Triangle specializing in campus news, and a sophomore at Bryan College, majoring in creative writing. He spends his free time writing, drawing and listening to music.