Climbing nationwide: Hobby takes UA student across the country

Victoria Teresko

Being passionate about something can be the driving force that allows a person to become great through motivation and perseverance. Sarah Kirchner, a junior studying exercise science, is passionate about climbing.

Standing at a five feet four inches, Kirchner is climbing high. She climbs the rock wall at UA every day. This is convenient for her because she is an employee at The Student Recreation & Wellness Center.

“It’s very relaxed and you’re really good friends with the regular climbers,” Kirchner said about working at the rock wall.

Kirchner has never felt uncomfortable in the sport because of her gender or ability level. The male to female ratio of climbers is nearly even, according to Kirchner.

“Climbing is a very friendly and encouraging sport,” she said.

UA’s rock wall in the recreation center is known statewide. It is the tallest state college wall in Ohio, measuring at 53.5 feet tall, and is free for UA students.

“At Miami University you have to pay to climb and it costs money to rent gear. This is not the case at UA,” Kirchner said.

Kirchner was drawn to the rock wall her freshman year at UA. From that point, on she has not been able to climb enough — or high enough, for that matter. She has climbed over 100 feet high at New River Gorge in West Virginia.

Climbing has taken Kirchner to many states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky and Arkansas.

The sport has also opened doors for jobs, not only at UA, but in California. She will be the Climbing Director at Camp John Mensinger, a Boy Scout camp in Yosemite, this summer.

“I am really excited for this opportunity and I can’t wait to add another state to the list of places I’ve climbed,” Kirchner said.