Northern Star




Northern Star

Northern Illinois University’s student news organization since 1899


Ensure student journalism survives. Donate today.

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Hold on, hang out with NIU’s Climbing Club 

Sofia Didenko
Eight students smile while hanging onto a rock climbing wall. NIU’s Climbing Club has been an official sports club since 2022 and is open to all students. (Sofia Didenko | Northern Star)

“I love climbing, it’s the perfect balance of physical performance with, like, solving problems,” said Cassandra Phillips, a physics doctoral student and president of Climbing Club.

Phillips has been solving vertical challenges since childhood, so naturally when she came to DeKalb to pursue her doctoral studies in physics, she had to explore NIU’s climbing facilities.  

At first, Phillips was unaware the new climbing wall, built in the summer of 2021, even existed. 

Located within the Recreation Center, the wall is suitable for accomplished and aspiring climbers and has three difficulty levels.

Recreation: V0-V1, Intermediate: V2-V4 and Advanced: V4-V6

Upon visiting the bouldering room, Philips realized there were other climbers like herself. 

“One thing that stood out to me was that there were so many people climbing, but no one talking to each other. It was like one or two people at the time,” Phillips said. “I wanted to get to know other climbers here as well, so it was like why don’t I just start a club?” 

Taking the lead, Phillips started NIU’s first climbing club in 2022. 

Climb times are held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. every Tuesday, but as of recently, the climbing wall will be open, aligning with regular Recreation Center hours:

6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, noon to 7 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday.  

Climbing shoes are available for rent at the front desk free of cost.  

During climb times, the Climbing Club is a place where students can find tips, techniques and a place to try out climbing. 

Other than the Recreation Center, the Climbing Club also practices in rock climbing gyms like Vertical Endeavors in Glendale Heights at least once a month. 

The club held two bouldering competitions at NIU where participants were challenged with an unfamiliar and difficult route for a chance at victory.  

Climbing Club has been an official sports club for about a year with Philips as president and other climbers as executive board officers. 


More to Discover