July 14, 2011
Michael Doyle, Assistant Director, Outdoor Recreation
Michael Phaneuf, Assistant Director, Challenge Course
Campus Recreation Services
University of Maryland, College Park
Climbing walls, ropes courses and adventure centers continue to grow in popularity and are more accessible than ever before. They are no longer just found at summer camps, university recreation centers and secluded retreat centers. By the time first year students arrive on your campus, they will most likely have participated in a ropes course as part of a class field trip or climbed a rock wall while on a cruise ship, or even climbed a portable, pop-up structure while attending a minor league baseball game. Today, climbing structures attract different user groups, have different purposes (recreation or education), and are funded and staffed based on user groups and program purpose/mission. One of the most critical decisions to be made when building an adventure facility such as a climbing wall or ropes course is which belay system to use. With the growth of the industry, technological advancements have been made to make climbing and belaying easier on participants and staff alike.