UNC is hosting the event for the first time as part of the fifth annual Eastern Edge Climbing Series with participants from schools along the East Coast.
DJ Hoessle, climbing programs coordinator at UNC, said the event will showcase the continued growth of UNC’s climbing program.
“The climbing program was kind of small when I took over about a year and a half ago,“ Hoessle said. “So this is the first event UNC’s ever had. It’s a pretty big event.”
Kerry Scott, freshman co-captain of the Carolina Climbing Club, said the planning process has been extensive. The planners have laid each rock on the climbing wall by hand — a tedious process that Scott says is half the fun.
“You just kind of picture what you would want to climb,” Scott said, “and put the holds there.”
Four other schools are part of the Eastern Edge Climbing Series: Virginia Commonwealth University, Duke University, Old Dominion University and Eastern Carolina University. There will also be independent climbers participating from Appalachian State University and other schools.
Junior Adam Bock, secretary of the Carolina Climbing Club, said participants will come from all over the East Coast and climb as hard as they can for the allotted time.
Rock climbing and sports-related prizes will be given to the best climber in each category, which are ranked by difficulty.
Still, the event is less about the competition and more about being part of a fun climbing community, Scott said.
“Some of the people I’ve met at Duke’s competition I actually keep climbing with now,” Scott said. “I met them at the competition, but they’re so close that we can climb together too.”
Hoessle said, if nothing else, the event will offer great promotion for rock climbing.
Since his employment, participation has increased from about 20 students to 100.
This might be due in part to the free classes he offers for beginning climbers on either the Rams Head or Fetzer walls.
Now his next goal is to bring rock climbing to a wider audience in LFIT classes.
“The more popular something is, the easier it is to be made into an LFIT class,” Hoessle said. “Would you rather rock climb or do badminton?”
The Tar Heel Top Out shows that the rock climbing community on campus is only getting bigger.
“It’s cool that we can put on some kind of big production and have other people from different schools coming here and competing,” Scott said.
“I guess that’s where we want to head in our club.”