5C Climbing Team Deals with Overwhelming Interest, Funding Concerns

AJ Jolish ’25
Staff Writer

Rock climbing has been all the rage at the 5Cs, and the Climbing Team is pushing past stumbling blocks as competition season approaches.

Starting the week of Nov. 7, the climbing team’s format is changing. In October, anyone who came to the initial informational meeting (which hosted over 100 people) could sign up for one practice per week — if they could catch a slot in time. Sign-up spreadsheets for four practices of 10-15 people each were emailed at 7 p.m. every Sunday, and slots often filled up by 7:15 p.m. “We’ve had a month-long trial period where we’ve kept track of how many practices people attended, whether they participated in the workouts, whether they went to team lift, etc., and we use those factors to assign people to the roster,” said Team Co-Leader Ihlara Gray HMC ’22.

In the future, only the 34 people on the roster will be able to sign up for team practices, and the 34 people on the accompanying waitlist will be offered a roster spot in the case of an opening. “If the team continues to grow, maybe in the future we could have multiple sub-teams and more practices, but that’s not feasible right now,” said Gray.

Because the 5Cs have no on-campus climbing facilities, the team holds practices at Hangar 18 Rancho Cucamonga and occasionally Hangar 18 Upland. Organizing carpools to practice has had a bit of a rocky start, because occasionally someone signed up to drive canceled at the last minute. Practices are also constrained by space; neither gym is very large, and they can be crowded with non-5C climbers.

Cost is another factor that limits some students’ participation. “As a 5C club, we get funding from all the schools, partially based on how many students from each school we have on the team and how much money we used last year,” said Gray. “Ideally we want to have enough funds to cover everyone’s comp fees and travel costs, reimburse drivers for gas, reimburse gym memberships for people who can’t afford them otherwise, and have something left over for team gear and other fun activities.”

In an email from Oct. 26, Scripps announced that they will be implementing a new payment system for clubs. “Through a company called PEX, SAS will be able to allocate and fund individual debit cards so that leaders no longer have to pay out of pocket,” the email read. This system, which will not be implemented this year, would answer the worries about funding mostly coming through reimbursements — requiring people to initially pay out of pocket.

Kate Katen ’25 stopped attending practices for this reason. “I would love to be part of the climbing team; I wish I could afford it,” she said. “I thought that all of the club members were very nice, however I ended up paying money which I wasn’t expecting to do.”

Though club leaders said that anyone who needed immediate financial help could talk to them personally, Katen was hesitant. “I don’t feel comfortable asking one of the club leaders for money for a pass, because I have enough money in my bank account,” she said. “But it’s not money I feel okay spending on club activities, especially when I spend so much money to go to a Claremont College.”

At Hangar 18, a day pass is $22, a monthly membership with a student discount is $44, a semester pass is $160, and a 10 punch pass is $180, plus a $3 fee for climbing shoe rental.

Students who are interested in joining the Climbing Team are encouraged to climb independently, and the team will be opening up to new members again in the spring. Hangar 18 Upland is about a ten minute drive from the Claremont colleges, and Hangar 18 Rancho Cucamonga is an additional 10 minutes away.

Image Source: Claremont Climbing Team