By Mitch Holt, Staff Writer
A group of ACU men gather several times a week, sometimes in one backyard, to take part in an up-and-coming sport: rock climbing.
Josh Fore, sophomore integrated marketing communication major from Fort Worth, said he goes rock climbing at several places in Abilene and its outskirts. He said most of the places he and his friends go are within an hour and a half to two hours from Abilene. Fore started climbing during the fall semester because several of his friends were into the sport. After that, it just became a part of him, he said.
This group of men also gather frequently in a backyard to climb, but not just any backyard. The group gathers to climb the climbing wall that Will Walker, junior nursing major from Eugene, Ore., built in his backyard with the help of some friends last summer.
Walker said he enjoys the community aspect of the sport. He said it’s like taking a walk with friends, except they take turns climbing up vertical rocks.
“It’s a fun thing to do outdoors with friends,” he said. “That’s what originally attracted me to it. Once I started, I became more serious about it.”
Fore and Walker said in rock climbing, the competition is against yourself.
“Climbing is a great stress reliever,” Fore said. “When I’m stressed out, I enjoy doing activities that exert energy and take my mind off of things. Climbing completely does that.”
He said that he used to run and lift weights, but neither performed the stress-relieving task like rock climbing.
Fore said the outdoor equipment retailer where he works, North American Outfitters, is about to start carrying climbing gear. He said his goal is to make climbing gear more accessible to those interested in the sport in the Abilene area.
One thing that separates climbing from other sports, Fore said, is the equipment used. The fact that climbers put their lives in the figurative hands of their equipment is a rush in itself.
“Before I climbed I was afraid of heights,” Fore said. “It’s about conquering your body and your fears.”