On the Ground: Combining Exercise and Fun at the Rock Wall
At first glance, York College of Pennsylvania may look like a typical campus in a typical college town—but look a little closer, and you’ll discover a community full of hidden (and not-so-hidden) gems. In our On the Ground series, we explore some of YCP’s most beloved places and spaces with help from our own Spartan students.
You could say the rock wall in York College’s Grumbacher Sport and Fitness Center is both “on and off the ground.” It is a favorite spot for junior Noah Carnuccio, who says, “The Rock to me is a place where I can get away from my studies and perform a very fun activity while getting physical exercise.” Each week, he spends about six-and-a-half hours there, and his climbing skills are now (pardon the pun) pretty rock solid.
Noah is a third-year Nursing student from West Chester, Pennsylvania, who already has big plans for life after college: to work as a nurse, move back home, and marry his high school sweetheart.
“I had been climbing casually when I was in middle school,” he says, “but never really pursued it as a hobby. After coming to York College and seeing they had a rock wall, I decided to pursue this activity because it seemed like something that would be really fun.”
For Noah, it’s a place to connect with others who enjoy the sport. “During the first two weeks of my first year, I went climbing for two hours every day the rock wall was open,” he says. “This got me involved with the Rock Climbing Club, because many of the e-board members worked at the wall and saw how much I was enjoying it.” It even led to him competing in the sport. “After attending a few meetings with the Rock Climbing Club, I competed in an outdoor climbing competition at the University of Maryland, which included different colleges from all around the region.”
During his next semester, staff members recommended Noah for a position as Rock Wall Manager because he had spent so much time there and developed some basic skills. He is currently a Rock Wall Monitor (RWM), who oversees the safe use of the wall and helps to organize different routes and climbs across it. “A few other staff members and I all tackle setting new routes at the wall,” he explains. “We do it as individuals, but we keep a log of how many routes we have because we don't want to overcrowd the wall.”
“It is a great place to make friends,” he says, “Having the ability to climb while at YCP and meet others who share my same passion has added a whole new community to my college experience."
The indoor rock wall has also helped him maintain his skills and stay in shape during bad weather. “I am a very avid outdoor climber during the summer, so having the opportunity to practice skills is awesome.”
Another benefit for Noah is that while working at the rock wall during his second year at YCP, he had the opportunity to obtain his Climbing Wall Instructor certification from the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA). Two of his colleagues were also certified. “This certification helped us introduce new climbers to the wall and even teach them how to belay another climber,” he says. “I discovered that I loved teaching others how to climb and enjoyed refining my own skills.”
This semester, Director of Campus Recreation Rachael Finley invited Noah and another staff member to student-teach the rock-climbing class with her on Wednesdays—yet another way the YCP rock wall has helped Noah to reach new heights.
The Rock Wall inside the Grumbacher Sport and Fitness Center measures 32 x 39 feet with an 800 square foot landing zone, and features routes that are continuously changing as well as “learn to climb” programs. Contact Rachael Finley, Director of Campus Recreation, email@example.com or 717.815.1259, for more information.