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Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

Rock Revolution: University of Northern Iowa’s ultimate top rope climbing competition

The+Rock+Revolution+celebrated+the+climbing+community+and+the+spirit+of+adventure+that+drives+climbers+to+reach%0Anew+heights.+The+WRC+also+offers+climbing+classes+for+everyone+at+every+skill+level.
JACOB KURT
The Rock Revolution celebrated the climbing community and the spirit of adventure that drives climbers to reach new heights. The WRC also offers climbing classes for everyone at every skill level.

The University of Northern Iowa (UNI) hosts an annual spectacle that sends pulses racing and adrenaline pumping: Rock Revolution.

For 25 years, this event has been a cornerstone of the climbing community, drawing volunteers and participants from far and wide to test their skills and push their limits on a towering 38.5-foot wall inside UNI’s Wellness and Recreation Center.

In order to host such an event the Outdoor Recreation team spends weeks doing behind the scenes work. The forward facing aspect of preparation starts one week before the competition.  

Volunteers begin with stripping the wall bare, removing any remnants of previous routes. Each hold is meticulously scrubbed to remove any dirt, chalk, or residue that could affect a climber’s grip, leaving behind a blank canvas for the setters to work their magic. 

With ropes and harnesses at the ready, the setting team plots out each route, carefully selecting holds and placement to provide the perfect balance of difficulty and excitement. Each route is a puzzle waiting to be solved.

But what exactly is top rope climbing, and how does it differ from the bouldering competitions offered in the fall? 

Unlike bouldering, which involves climbing short routes without ropes, top roping requires a safety rope anchored at the top of much taller climbs, emphasizing endurance and technique with the added security of a belay system.

On Feb. 24, the work of over 30 volunteers came to fruition as over 60 competitors took part in Rock Revolution. Competitors have a set amount of time to climb as many routes as they can. Each route is carefully labeled with its own set of rules and a point value, those who score the most points advance to the finals, where a climb off, ultimately decides the winner. 

The Rock Revolution isn’t just a competition, it’s a celebration of the climbing community and the spirit of adventure that drives us to, quite literally, reach new heights. 

With the support of dedicated volunteers and passionate participants, this annual event continues to inspire and captivate climbers of all ages and skill levels, fueling a love for the sport that knows no bounds.

Ready to take your climbing to the next level? The WRC offers climbing classes and open wall times for climbers of all levels. Whether you’re a seasoned climber or just starting out, there’s a route waiting for you! 

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JACOB KURT, Staff Writer, Sports Photographer

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