The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

GV’s Vertical Earth climbing club takes community to new heights

GVL | Sydney Lim

Grand Valley State University’s Vertical Earth Club takes rock climbing to the next level.

With about 60 members, Vertical Earth Club is a student-run organization that meets twice a week on Sundays and Wednesdays from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the GVSU Fieldhouse Climbing Center. Additionally, the student organization takes various trips to other states exploring and climbing in nature. The organization gives students opportunities to develop new skills and bond with other members. 

“Climbing is just a really unique way that you can interact with nature and also the people around you. It’s really cool to be in a supportive environment where we’re all cheering each other on, doing really hard things,” said Vera Grix, the financial officer of Vertical Earth Club.

Members said everyone in the club inspires and encourages one another to climb to new levels on the walls. To help others reach their climbing goals, many members give out tips and advice about how to use harnesses or the best way to use chalk to better grip the rocks.

“There’s just always a challenge and always something that you can do so no matter your level of climbing it’s always just fun,” said Cameron Schorr, a member of Vertical Earth Club. “Even if it’s your first time climbing or you’ve been climbing for years and years, there’s always something that is challenging and keeps pushing you to keep going,”

Sam Pinho a member of Vertical Earth Club said the organization provides a “big community” on campus and provides a fun activity to do.

Vertical Earth Club has been a part of the GVSU community for over 25 years. At one point, the organization raised money for the rock wall in the fieldhouse. Although many universities across Michigan have rock-climbing clubs, GVSU’s is one of the few with the equipment to give its members the full climbing experience. Over the last year, an additional wall was put in place with rocks that glow, which gives climbers the opportunity to navigate the rock wall only using the lit up rocks, providing climbers with a new challenge to overcome. 

Additionally, the organization takes their skills beyond the walls of the GVSU Fieldhouse during trips taken in the fall and spring each year. Over spring break, Vertical Earth Club is looking to travel to Red Rock Canyon in Nevada. Pinho said climbing in nature gives an extra challenge as members never know what to expect. These trips are both a learning experience and bonding opportunity with other members of the club. Previously, the organization has traveled to various locations such as the Red River Gorge in Kentucky, and places in Arkansas and Illinois. Local trips around Michigan to Grand Ledge were made in early September. 

Despite the weather getting too cold to climb outside in Michigan, the club members practice their skills during winter by visiting indoor rock-climbing gyms together.

Vertical Earth Club President Sarah Lauren said the combination of the organizations meetings, outside events and community atmosphere leads to a collective and impactful experience.

“When you come to the club, you see the same people all the time and you go through all these deep experiences where you go on trips together and you’re with each other all the time and you really build a cool group of people who also have a similar hobby as you,” Laurenz said.

More to Discover