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ABOUT
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THE TEAM
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THE TEAM

The Michigan Climbing Team is a club sport sponsored by the Department of Recreational Sports at the University of Michigan. We compete in the USA Climbing Collegiate Series at local, regional, and national competitions. We also compete in community competitions held by gyms across the Midwest.

 

Membership is open to any full-time undergraduate or graduate student enrolled at the University of Michigan. Members must commit to attending weekly practices, training on their own time, attending USA Climbing competitions, and paying annual dues of $60.00. Members must provide proof of health insurance at the start of every season.

FAQ
  • What does it mean to go to a climbing competition?
    There are two types of competitions: USA Climbing comps and local comps. USA Climbing is the governing body for the sport of climbing and organizes comps against other college students across the country. There are Qualifying, Divisional, and National competitions, and each level requires you to qualify for the next. Local comps are competitions held by gyms for their members. These tend to be more casual and community-oriented, with things like food trucks, live music, raffles, prizes, and finals for the top competitors, to name a few. We take day trips to a few locals in the Midwest throughout the year.
  • Can I be a part of the team and the club?
    Yes! In fact, most team members are also part of the club. The club offers gym membership discounts, access to outdoor trips, and larger social events to meet other climbers.
  • How does the USA Climbing season work?
    Throughout the year, the midwest will have a few Qualifying comps. By participating in one of these events, you qualify for Divisionals. These are usually bouldering and are either day trips or one-night trips. Divisionals is usually a one-day event in March, with bouldering in the morning and sport in the afternoon. Anyone from the Midwest (aka the Heartland Division) who went to a Qualifying comp can participate. The top 13 climbers in each category (F Bouldering, M Bouldering, F Sport, M Sport) qualify for Nationals. This usually is a one-night trip to a city in the Midwest. Nationals is a 3-4 day event in April that brings together the best collegiate climbers in the country. It is held in a different place each year and usually requires plane travel. The first few days have qualifying rounds for each discipline, where the top 20 climbers move on to a finals round on the last day. Qualifying comps and Divisionals are modified redpoint. At Nationals, qualifiers for bouldering are modified redpoint, sport is flash format, and speed is fastest lap. Finals are onsight for bouldering and sport, while speed is a knockout bracket.
  • What is the time commitment of being on the team?
    We expect team members to attend at least one practice a week and climb at least three times a week. This means spending 10-12 hrs a week at the gym or commuting. Team members are also expected to attend at least one competition and are strongly encouraged to attend Divisionals.
  • What is the difference between the Michigan Climbing Team and the Michigan Climbing Club?
    The Michigan Climbing Team is a sanctioned club sport here at the university, so we have dedicated team members that attend weekly practices, train together, and represent the University at national-level competitions. The Michigan Climbing Club has a more casual commitment: they run monthly outdoor trips and social events for people of all abilities and interests. You can check them out here.
  • Do we require tryouts?
    No! We don’t believe in tryouts or cuts, just commitment and enthusiasm! If you are curious about joining the team, come to a few practices to see for yourself—regardless of skill level and no strings attached.
  • When and where do we practice?
    We practice twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7-10pm with comps and additional training opportunities on weekends. We train at our local gym, Planet Rock Ann Arbor, which is a ~15 minute drive from Central Campus. The university is currently building a dedicated climbing wall in the new CCRB, estimated to be completed Summer 2025.
  • I don't have a car. How can I attend team practices?
    We organize carpools where team members help drive those without cars to our regular practices. Pickup/Dropoff locations are in the cul-de-sac by the Cube on central campus and Pierpont Commons on north campus. Signup for carpools is sent out on a weekly basis first come first serve, though we usually have enough spots for everyone. The Club also organizes carpools on Tuesdays and Thursdays; however, because there are so many people in the club, they use a lottery system to assign spots, so there’s no guarantee you’ll get a ride.
  • Have we seen Free Solo?
    Yes. Yes we have.
  • How is the team funded?
    As an official Michigan Club Sport, we receive a portion of our budget from the University. However, the vast majority of our funding comes from fundraisers and donations. As part of your commitment to the team, we expect members to help promote and support our fundraising efforts throughout the year. Without the support of friends, family, Michigan alums, and others, we would not exist.
  • What are the financial costs of being a member?
    We expect team members to cover their gym membership, shoe, and gear costs. Planet Rock offers a four-month semester pass for ~$290 to members of the Club, another great reason to join the Club. Gear costs vary from person to person and depending on how often you climb. At a minimum members should own their own harness, chalk bag, and shoes; a good estimate is that you'll need 1-2 pairs of shoes per year. Our dues are $60 for the year, which includes a jersey and covers base travel costs. To compete, USA Climbing requires you to purchase a membership for $65. Qualifying and local competitions typically cost $30-50. We usually have 3-5 of these each year, but you are only required to attend one. Divisionals is $135 and Nationals is $200-300 (depending on how many disciplines you qualify for). The team aims to cover the majority of travel and lodging costs associated with comps, i.e. flights, hotels, rental cars, gas, etc. We do recognize that climbing is an inherently expensive sport. If the cost of competitions poses a financial barrier to you, please reach out and we’ll do our best to help.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

LEADERS

LEADERS

Co Captain Grace Baily University of Michigan Climbing Team About Page

Grace Baily

Co-Captain

Computer Science

Sophomore

Co-Captain

Computer Science

Sophomore

Co-Captain

Computer Science

Sophomore

“Decided to quit Irish dancing because climbing 60-ft vertical walls seemed more practical.”

Co Captain Jake Schraga University of Michigan Climbing Team About Page

Jake Schraga

Co-Captain

Art and Design

Senior

“If you were wondering why we look so good, it is because I am an art and design major.”

Co Captain Owen Sims University of Michigan Climbing Team About Page

Owen Sims

Co-Captain

Urban Technology

Junior

“People used to judge me for liking comp climbing. They still do, but now we're friends.”

HISTORY

HISTORY

The team unofficially began in 2017 when Max Hammer competed in the USA Climbing Collegiate Regional, National, and World championships as the sole athlete representing the University of Michigan.

The following year, he became the Michigan Climbing Club’s competition chair, and the competitive climbing community exploded. The team went on to sweep the regional title for all three disciplines, boasting the largest and strongest team in the region. Following this success and increased interest in competitive climbing, Max successfully petitioned the University to make climbing an official Club Sport alongside other D1 powerhouse teams like Men's Rowing and Women's Ice Hockey.

With this recognition, the Michigan Climbing Team was born and set the groundwork for what it is today. We stand to carry on Max’s mission of growing the sport of climbing at Michigan and across the country and wearing the Block M proudly in the process.

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