Radiantly charged by two black lights, the rock wall illuminated the Student Recreation Center at CSUF on Thursday for Neon Night, awaiting climbers to conquer its courses and scale the glowing wall.
Some of the wall’s rocks were naturally lit from the black light, while the Associated Students, Inc. added bright pink, yellow and blue tape to add more luminance to others. Each route was color-coordinated, and paths ranged in difficulty.
The 1,100-square-foot wall features eight top rope stations and also includes a bouldering course for use without ropes or harnesses. That portion of the wall is only allowed for experienced climbers or those who take specific classes for bouldering through the recreation center.
Chris Meza, who is part of the recreation center department of ASI, said the event is held once a semester and normally draws a crowd.
“Rock climbing in general is a good workout. I recommend it to everybody. It’s fun, it’s a good time and it’s a good way to challenge yourself,” Meza said.
Connor Shubin, who has been rock climbing for three years, stopped by the event to get a climb in during his gap between classes. He said this particular wall is one of the best in the area.
“To have this in our backyard is awesome. It’s a great all-around wall with so many different kinds of climbs,” Shubin said.
Shubin’s friends introduced him to rock climbing, but he was originally skeptical because gym memberships for rock climbing can be expensive. Being able to climb on campus gives him the opportunity to practice once or twice a week at no charge.
The Factory Bouldering is a rock climbing gym in Orange that has rates starting at $59 a month for students and $570 for an annual membership. Rock City Climbing in Anaheim offers monthly memberships for $40 and charges to rent their equipment, such as harnesses, chalk and shoes.
In contrast, the rock wall at the SRC is free students to use, as it’s included in their tuition. There are also four different classes offered that range from fundamentals to advanced classes for experienced climbers.
Neon Night also brought in those who were completely fresh to the rock climbing scene, potentially making it a new hobby for some.
Freshman Brandon Watson stopped by the SRC to workout. He saw the event going on and decided to rock climb for the first time.
He described his first climb as more mentally difficult than physically.
“It was terrifying when it came to letting go. But while you’re going up, you get motivated to keep going up. Once you get to the top and you have to grab the rope and not hold on to the wall, that’s when your heart sinks,” Watson said.
He plans to continue practicing and eventually move on to more difficult paths on the 30-foot-high wall.
The event not only gave students a chance to partake in climbing in the dark, but it also helped shed a neon light on a hobby that many students like Shubin have grown attached to.
“If you’re even thinking about rock climbing, go for it,” Shubin said. “If you give it a try, you’re not going to regret it.”