UMD Rock Climbing Students Scale West Duluth Rock Formation

Class climbs real rock for the first time off of First Street.

DULUTH, Minn.- A normally bare rock formation off First Street by Piedmont Avenue is suddenly crawling with people climbing up and down the cliff.

“Duluth is full of hidden wonders kind of, y’know, you’re finding new trails, finding new things to do everyday,” said Sierra Kooistra. “New formations to climb, it’s a big city so you’re always finding new things to do.”

UMD students scaled the rock–just another day in Rock Climbing Class.

“I think it’s very important for them to get in touch with a different style of movement that maybe they haven’t experienced,” said Lucas Kramer, their instructor and the Assistant Director of UMD’s Recreational Sports Outdoor Program.

These rock climbing students were out on their first day applying their new rock climbing skills on a real formation.

“We spend the first several weeks learning how to put the harness on, learning how to fit helmets, learning how to fit shoes so that we can then transfer those skills outdoors which is what we’re doing today for the first time,” Kramer said.

Climbing comes with its own set of challenges but the one these students had to get over first was working with each other.

“The trust when you’re coming back down the wall you’re just trusting your bilayer to get you down safely and trusting the equipment that it’s not gonna fail you,” Kooistra, a senior, said.

This rock offered a jagged, uneven surface on one side to test maneuverability, and a smooth surface on the other to force students to find any footholes they can.

“It’s a little bit, initially I would say even anticlimactic it’s not super huge and yet it presents some very, as you might see behind me some very challenging sections especially for folks who are new to moving over rock,” said Kramer.

A bit of a challenge, learning a new skill some only dream of doing.

The class will be headed to Ely’s Peak next week, followed by a peak in Two Harbors.

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