The club launched an open climbing event to attract climbers and non-climbers alike, to try their hand at indoor rock climbing.

On Tuesday, May 2, the mountain club opened the indoor-climbing wall to all in the launch of a tournament that is open to the public, but the public didn’t show.

The bouldering league is taking place for the first time in three years at the multi-purpose sports hall on Wits main campus. According to Uwais Khan (22), the administrative head of the club, the event used to be an annual occurrence. This changed at the onset of the pandemic of 2020, preventing large events from happening by law.

Wits Mountain club members and alumni climb the indoor rock-climbing wall in the open boulder league on May 2 at the multi-purpose sports hall. Photo: Kimberley Kersten

The turnout for the event was dismal, with only a handful of Wits alumni joining the club in facing the wall. Khan said it is to be expected, “It’s the first event after the long weekend,” but he is optimistic that the numbers will improve as the tournament goes on. The league will continue twice a week for four weeks, entries remain will reopen until the 11th of May for those who want to win prizes (vouchers to City Rock climbing center).

The event costs visitors R50 to enter per evening, funds raised will go to the Dawson fund, a Wits fund which pays for expenses for those interested in climbing but who cannot afford it. “The major goal is to increase the diversity of climbing” said Jonothan Faller (21), chair of the club.

The club also opened the event up to everyone to build back the support for the sport which has been waning for a few years now. Faller said that the club hopes to hold a national university competition at the end of 2023, which would be the first in “a very long time”.

Bouldering is climbing which does not use protective gear. Faller told Wits Vuvuzela that this type of climbing is made up of complicated courses that don’t reach dizzying heights, but rely on problem solving skills as well as creativity in scaling the wall.

Lea Timmermans (22), a climber from the mountain club, said, “I entered to see how much I’ve improved [since joining the club this year]” and added that it’s an interesting challenge.

A climber prepares to take on the sixth course of the league on Tuesday May 2 at the multi-purpose sports hall. Photo: Kimberley Kersten.

FEATURED IMAGE: A climber chalks up her hands before climbing the indoor wall on May 2 at the multi-purpose sports hall. Photo: Kimberley Kersten.