By Sarah Senese ’23
On Wednesdays at the Ritt Kellogg Climbing Gym, you can find female-identifying students enjoying women-only climbing from 4-6 p.m. Women’s Wednesdays, which began only a couple of years ago, encourages women to get involved and excited about climbing while providing a space for those who may be new to climbing or dislike the usual crowded evenings at the gym.
Many students who are new to climbing, including Mariel Zech ’23, find Women’s Wednesdays a comfortable space to try out new routes and techniques in the gym without the pressure of those who may be more experienced. Zech shares, during Women’s Wednesday, that she finds it “really cool to have an opportunity to climb in a relaxed atmosphere, especially because Women’s Wednesday generally isn’t as crowded as some other times — not to mention that the staff are fun and helpful.”
Women’s Wednesdays origins stem from the rising popularity of recreational climbing. When climbing became a more and more popular and accessible, the staff and students who help run the Ritt Kellogg Gym decided to create a space where female-identifying students — whether they be seasoned climbers or first-timers — can try new skills and enjoy the gym in the company of other like-minded people.
The energy in the climbing gym on Wednesdays radiates community and comfort. No matter the year or the skill level, every student is willing and ready to give helpful advice and welcome new climbers into the space that belongs to them. Even the monitors, who do enjoy working during crowded gym hours to help climbers with their skills and to assist in belaying, love to work on Women’s Wednesdays. The space is calm and positive, and you can see the monitors’ love for helping new climbers and being a part of what has become such a special CC climbing tradition.
“I don’t know if I’d be able to climb so often if Women’s Wednesdays didn’t exist,” says Zech. “I’m new to climbing, and it’s sometimes hard to get into it when there are so many other skilled climbers in the gym. Women’s Wednesdays is probably my favorite activity on campus so far.” You can find Zech and other women and female-identifying students in the Ritt Kellogg Climbing Gym from 4-6 p.m. on Wednesdays.