The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point was one out of six competition locations for the Wisconsin Indoor Climbing Series.
The series allows climbers to compete all over Wisconsin and create a community.
“I can go anywhere in the state now to find someone to climb with just because you have this community that are all interested in the same things,” said Kyle Hanus, climbing route setter and biology major.
The group was established in 2011 and has grown each year since. The Stevens Point competition grew from 50 to 76 climbers, the most climbers since collaborating with all the other UW schools.
The event on February 28 had a 30-person wait list. Seven UW schools attended the event, with Angela Jennings taking the overall female winner title and Gabe Huenn for the men’s title. The finals had more than 100 spectators cheering them on.
“Normally, the competition is just for locals. Now we have climbers coming in from all over the state,” said Taylor Christiansen, UWSP climbing wall manager and land-use planning major.
Having six schools collaborate in the series allowed for more prizes and sponsors.
“Collaborating has allowed us to get bigger and more engaged sponsors,” said Nathan Barnhart, assistant director of recreational sports at UW-Lacrosse and co-founder of the group. “We wouldn’t have been able to get that support without working together.”
Not only does the series allow for more enjoyment the day of the competition, it also makes planning for each climb much easier on those in charge, Barnhart said.
“We didn’t want to reinvent the wheel, we wanted to take what they have and make it easier to plan,” Barnhart said. “All schools have limited resources, so it helps save money on planning each of the events.”
“It made sense, it would be less work for us and also a great way to get the word out statewide,” Christiansen said.
Every year after the series is completed, leaders from each school get together and talk about what could be changed in the future.
“From the first competition I went to when I was a freshman to where we are now is completely different,” Hanus said.