Join Our Team
Looking to take your climbing to the next level? Step up your game by joining the Vanderbilt Climbing Club’s competitive climbing team. Our team has two extra practices a week at Climb Nashville, our local climbing gym. Whether you are just starting out or training for nationals, our professional coaches will help you improve.
When are practices?
7:00-9:00 on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Climb Nashville, which is only a 7-minute drive from campus.
How do I get to Climb Nashville?
The Vanderbilt Climbing Team has arranged for our students with cars on campus to shuttle athletes to and from Climb Nashville. We meet at Morgan and North houses at 6:30 so we can all get checked in in time for warm-up.
How much does it cost?
Climbing Team dues are $380 a semester. This is charged about a month into each semester, so that prospective members have time to see what being on the team is like before formally committing to it.
What are the benefits of being on the team and where does my money go?
Your Climbing Team membership covers a membership to Climb Nashville, all USA Climbing fees, competition fees, transportation fees, two to three outdoor climbing trips a semester and Climbing Team jerseys.
I can’t afford to pay dues. Does the team offer financial aid?
Climbing Team dues can be covered by Experience Vanderbilt. For more information, talk to any executive board member or visit https://www.vanderbilt.edu/experience-vanderbilt/. Additional internal scholarships are often offered in the spring semester.
How do I know if I am ready to join the Climbing Team?
As far as we’re concerned, if you love climbing and feel that you can make the time commitment to improve your abilities, then you’re ready to join the team. We don’t have any kind of climbing level cutoff for prospective team members. In fact, many of our most active members were complete beginners when they joined!
Does the team ever climb outside?
Yes! At least two times a semester, the executive board organizes outdoor climbing trips to nearby crags (outdoor climbing areas). Trips are covered in team dues, so it is highly encouraged for members to attend as many as they can! Outdoor trips are highly dependent on the weather, so it’s hard to plan extremely far in advance, but as soon as dates are finalized, they are added to the team schedule.
What is the climbing season like?
Each climbing season takes place over one entire academic year (2 semesters), and can be split into three different parts: local, divisional, and national. In addition, each competing university is located in a designated region, where they spend most of the season competing only against other teams from their same division.
Local: This part of the season generally starts in October and ends in February or early March. During this time there are climbing competitions across the region every 3-5 weeks, which usually consist of only bouldering (short and intense climbs that don’t require being attached to a rope). Since each division is very big, it is not expected of teams to attend every competition, but rather just ones relatively close to their home university. Usually, Vanderbilt Climbing tries to go to at least two local competitions in order to create an opportunity for each team member to complete in at least one.
Divisional: Once the local season ends, each division hosts one large competition for all of its participants. In order to qualify for divisionals, competitors must have attended at least one local competition (how they did during said competition is irrelevant). At the divisional competition, teams from all over the region compete for spots in the national competition for sport climbing, speed climbing, and bouldering. Depending on a division’s size, the top 5-20 competitors per gender per discipline qualify for the national competition. This past year, the Southeastern division allowed for the top 13 competitors per gender per discipline to move on to nationals (this number changes each year depending on the average number of competitors at the divisional competitions from the previous two seasons. To learn more, visit the USA Climbing website.
National: Those who qualify during the regional competition or are able to secure an open spot during the secondary registration period get to compete at the USA Climbing Collegiate National Competition, held in different locations across the country each year. This competition lasts two days, with the first day being qualifications and the second being finals. The national competition is usually held during late April, at the very end of the Vanderbilt school year.