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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Club profile: Climbing Club

A climbing club member participates in an activity called bouldering—free climbing on a rockwall with foot and hand holds. Photo submitted by Kataryna Bucko.

For students who have been wanting to try something new or expand their horizons, UMass Boston’s Climbing Club might just be the perfect option. 

The climbing club relaunched last year after taking a hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic. Former member and current president, Kataryna Bucko, took the summer to brainstorm ideas, recruit new members and find the right direction for the club. 

“We’re back, we’re recruiting, we’re slowly meeting up—we’re working on it!” said Bucko. 

With around 20 active members, the club hosts climbing meetups at various indoor locations in the Boston area. Bucko decided to start these meetups at indoor locations in order to allow first time climbers to get the hang of things in a safe environment. In her opinion, indoor climbing “is the most accessible and the safest [option] for beginners.” However, as Bucko and the other members gauge the interests of the UMass Boston climbing community, as well as they develop more skills, the club will likely take some activities outside. 

The club consists of three team captains as well as regular members. Each team captain plans and hosts one outing a month at the gym of their choice—usually accessible by public transportation. At these meet-ups, members partake in what Bucko calls “social climbing,” while honing their own personal skills. Club captain, Lucy Camarata, also emphasizes the social aspect climbing takes on. 

“It’s pretty laid back and we spend time cheering each other on, finding new routes to climb, and getting to know each other. It’s a great way to work out and make new friends!” Camarata said. 

For those who are interested in more structured climbing, Bucko hopes to focus on training sessions later in the club’s development, especially as more members join and share their climbing goals. As a prior competitive climber herself, Bucko is familiar with “different training, exercises and workouts that [people] can do to train specifically for climbing.” 

While skilled and experienced climbers are encouraged to join, the climbing club is also welcome to students of all climbing levels and abilities. New members are taught the basics of climbing, and day passes purchased at the gyms include all the basic equipment members might need—shoes, chalk, and harnesses for sport climbing. 

Newcomers to rock climbing will likely start on boulders, Bucko explained. A video or demonstration on falling safely is shown, and then the new climber is free to practice basic skills on short walls with safety mats underneath. 

“It’s super accessible,” said Bucko, “You can be independent, walk around and watch other people. You can opt out easily too, if you decide this is not for you.” 

The club is also willing to help people who might have physical limitations climb in a way that is accessible to them. 

Both Bucko and Camarata love the problem-solving that comes with climbing. Camarata emphasized the joy she feels when solving new climbing routes and the meditative effects that come with it. Bucko also highlighted the beauty in the movement of climbing—the body can make an abundance of different shapes in order to reach the top of a climb and it’s extremely rewarding. 

In addition to meetings for indoor rock climbing, the club also offers opportunities to see each other outside of the gym. For instance, Bucko hosts movie nights where members meet up to watch climbing documentaries and socialize. Chances to volunteer at youth climbing competitions also come up, and it’s a great way to get involved in the community. 

“Climbing has a really wonderful community,” said Bucko, “It’s really awesome to experience it and I think it’s part of what draws people in.”

Furthermore, there are collegiate climbing competitions for members to compete in if they want. 

For anyone interested in joining or staying up to date with the climbing club, they can be reached best through their Instagram, @umbclimbing. Meetings are not mandatory and members can attend whatever meetings fit into their personal schedule. 

Bucko encourages students to “just show up” and see if climbing is the new adventure they need. Camarata furthers this, recommending anyone join the club—even “those who have never touched a rock wall.”

About the Contributor
Skylar Bowman, Managing Editor