The sport of climbing is becoming more popular every year in Wisconsin, but not just in the great outdoors.
More high schools and universities are installing indoor climbing walls in their gymnasiums and multi-activity centers.
One indoor climbing league is helping the state build and connect the climbing community.
The Wisconsin Indoor Climbing Series (WICS) has made it possible for anyone to climb competitively.
"It's a series that we started last year and includes five universities in Wisconsin. Stout, LaCrosse, Oshkosh, Superior, and us as the last stop," says UW-Stevens Point climbing wall manager, Taylor Christiansen. "This is a climbing competition with about 80 climbers with all abilities, from little kids to adults."
These competitions aren't like what you'd see with other sporting events. The "Menom Bombs" from UW-Stout have won the series both years, and their manager, Jeff Keenan, says that it's all about making friends.
"I think it's all about the community. It's all about having a fun time and coaching each other on. I think that's the big part of this sport," says Keenan. "We're all in it together but don't get us wrong, there's going to be a winner and a loser but in general we just all care that we're all doing well."
You don't have to be an experienced climber to compete.
"They're great for everybody from beginners to experts. You don't have to have a lot of experience to climb at one of these competitions," says Keenan. There's 8 year olds out there, there's beginners. It's a great entry sport and anyone can enter into it and kind of learn the ropes, if you will."
The goal of the WICS is to simply boost the popularity of the sport, and in just two seasons of having over 50 climbers at each competition, that's exactly what it's doing.
"We're all in it together and if we can raise the level of climbing in the state of Wisconsin, we're all just going to get better and we all get to have more fun," raves Keenan.
This spring's WICS season ended Sunday but the climbing wall in the Multi-activity Center at UW-Stevens Point is open to everyone for use. It is free for UWSP students and only $5 for community members.
For more information on the Wisconsin Indoor Climbing Series click here.
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