New Mexico Tech rock climbing

Climber Chris Schmittle competed at the Eagle Climbing and Fitness Gym in Colorado recently.

On November 16 the New Mexico Tech Climbing team, typically an outdoor group, traveled to Eagle, Colorado to compete against 13 different collegiate teams during an indoor climbing event at the Eagle Climbing and Fitness Facility. Eight competitors represented Socorro, one of two New Mexico area schools to attend the event along with members from Las Cruces. The mainly southwest dominate competition also saw climbers from New York, Maine, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Head Coach Scott Roberts is the head of recreational activities at New Mexico Tech and attempted to create an indoor climbing group in 2012. The club was not successful and has recently seen a resurgence over the past two years.

“Socorro has always been an outdoor climbing community,” he said. “We tried to get the team going indoors a few years ago but there wasn’t much interest. Thanks to indoor climbing becoming a part of the Olympics the excitement has seen a resurgence in collegiate sports.”

Three different classes of competition were available for climbers: Bouldering, Speed and Sport. Parker Newcomer and Sara Watson were the top finishers in their respective competitions, both coming in fifth.

The team prepared by visiting well known climbing areas such as Hueco Tanks and Redstone, both in the Colorado mountains.

“Our ability to climb as a group is excellent,” Roberts said. “But indoors is far different which we’re still trying to get the kids excited about. Outdoor is much more technical and meticulous where as indoor has an element of gymnastics to it that challenges you in a different way. There are unique types of strengths and movements when it comes to outdoor versus indoor which our climbers have to face.”

Roberts has been climbing since a young age before coming to Tech as a student at 18. His passion for keeping students active at a rigorous academic institution translated to his current position at the school.

“This university is tough academically. Having the ability to release is essential for the soul of these students. I know this is a benefit for everyone involved. While climbing takes strength it is also a problem solving sport which is perfect for our students. Being smart is a big asset in this sport, which our students are.”

The NMT climbing team practices three days a week both inside at the Tech gym and outside at locations locally such as Box Canyon. For more information on future climbing events visit the NMT website.

NMT Climbers Scores:

Sara Watson - 2200 points, 5th place.

Parker Newcomer - 7200 points, 5th place.

Samuel Watson - 6600 points, 6th place.

Christopher Schmittle - 5200 points, 12th place.

Joseph Ulbrich - 5100 points, 14th place.

Ernest Carrera-Miramontes - 4400 points, 21st place.

Sandip Rai - 4100 points, 22nd place.

Luis Vidal-Contreras - 3200 points, 26th place.