The South Superior Climbing Club is a club at Northern Michigan University that facilitates climbing experiences for interested students or experienced climbers year-round.
If an NMU student wants to get back into climbing or start a new experience, the South Superior Climbing Club offers a host to help students get involved. Club President Micah Carroll spoke about the opportunities available to interested students.
“I would view our club as a community,” Carroll said. “There are a lot of students and community members not affiliated with Northern who are climbing. We see our club as a meeting place for experienced and inexperienced climbers to share their knowledge with each other.
Rock climbing can be a daunting sport not only to participate in, but also to find a way to get into it. The club seeks to provide a fun experience for anyone interested, and students are fully supported and set up to participate without worrying about having an experienced friend or buying the equipment.
“Our goal as an organization is to remove barriers to entry into this community,” Carroll said. “We bring in really experienced climbers and we also receive funding through Northern to receive equipment purchases. We understand that as students it is difficult to buy materials.
In the fall and spring, climbers gather around Marquette and UP climbing trails developed from years of community members. For winter activities, the club meets at the PEIF rock face and joins the ice climbing organized by Down Wind Sports in Munising.
“It’s an opportunity for students to climb in the winter,” Carroll said. “But not on rock, on giant pillars of ice.”
The club is not a business and members claim not to be guides. Being free to join and open to all levels of climbers, they seek to maintain a community but only provide the resources and their own knowledge and a place to be. The South Superior Climbing Club provides the place to have those experiences without necessarily guiding, but facilitating, Carroll said.
The club always offers knowledge and experienced climbers to teach students their passion while ensuring student safety. Vaughn Rodriguez, a leader within the club, shares his experiences and the great teaching opportunities they have.
“I’ve been climbing with the club for about a year,” Rodriguez said. “The climbing club is definitely a great place to start and get some rock climbing knowledge, you basically have to show up and you can start climbing anywhere around Marquette and surrounding UP”
The club and its members seek to give new members one of the first things every climber needs, a friend with experience. Focusing on their community aspect, they treat each climb as a bonding moment.
“We don’t necessarily guide them,” Rodriguez said. “It’s more hanging out and presenting them with something they’ve never done before. There is no monetary exchange, just lessons to be learned and fun to be had.
By hosting events in the PEIF and around Marquette, there is always something a student can show up and get involved with. With no limits and no entry fees, it’s time to get rock climbing and have fun with a new activity.
“It’s really easy to come to our events and jump on a rope and start learning to climb,” Carroll said. “We just have an epic community of people who are genuinely interested in sharing their passion. That’s something we’re really proud of.”