The semesterly Mile High Challenge is in full swing for students who wish to challenge themselves to summit the 25-foot-tall rock climbing wall 211 times, totaling a mile, at the Student Wellness and Recreation Center.
According to Associated Students Inc., about 90 participants finish the challenge at the end of every semester, and when they do they win a t-shirt to remember their accomplishment.
Persiyana Petrova, a first-year biology major, has climbed the wall 36 times going into the second week of the challenge.
“My chemistry professor, she told me about this and she explained other challenges as well,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to do rock climbing. I watched YouTube videos when I was a kid and now I have the opportunity.”
Participants are not limited to climbing one mile to win. They can climb as many miles as they want and win multiple shirts. It is common for participants to complete the challenge, climbing more than one mile, more than once in one semester. Most participants who complete it come back and try again the following semester to collect the new shirt design.
Christian Masia, a fourth-year physiology major and staff member who helps carry out the Mile High Challenge, belayed the current Mile High Challenge record holder d, who did 211 climbs in three and a half hours.
Bridget Naylor is in the lead this semester. She has climbed 141 times as of Sept. 3.
Other new participants have also found the challenge a way to enjoy a new hobby.
“[My friend] told me about this. I didn’t think I’d be able to do it, since it seems like a lot but it’s been fun,” said Marika Blacklack, a first-year marine biology major. “We figured out we only have to do four a day, five days a week, to make the  climbs by the end of the semester.”
Blacklack has completed 28 climbs so far.
Whether students are certified climbers or have never tried rock climbing, attempting the Mile High Challenge can be an adventure worth doing and can be great exercise.
The Mile High Challenge ends Dec. 17, 2019.
Austin Brumblay, Editor in chief, contributed to this article.