Rock junkies

The rock climbing gym operated by the Southern Oregon University Outdoor Program is truly a hallmark of student involvement. Constructed in an old racket ball court, the rock gym offers climbing for all levels, from the beginner to the advanced climber.

Rock climbing at the gym can be done two ways; on a rope, called top roping, or without a rope, called bouldering. Top roping is typically a longer route going high up the wall with less technical moves. Bouldering routes are usually shorter and more technical, featuring much harder moves to challenge the climber at the peak of their ability level.

Both top roping and bouldering have rating systems. Top roping ratings run from 5.0 to 5.15 and up, the higher the number the higher the difficulty. Bouldering runs on a similar rating system, from v0, the easiest, to v10+, much more difficult. The SOU rock gym features a wide range of difficulty ratings, so anyone will be able to find a challenge.

There are a variety of aspects that make the rock gym unique. Student volunteers, both experienced and beginners alike, operate the gym. Students design climbing routes, give belay certification tests, and keep the gym running smoothly.

The student staff is there during all operating hours to help you, give you climbing pointers, and to offer a warm and welcoming atmosphere that all can enjoy. Fees are very low, only $25 dollars per quarter, billable to student accounts. The gym is open Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., and a great alternative to the workout center, offering a fun and unique full-body workout.

For more information, or if you are interested in volunteering, contact the Outdoor Program in the McNeal Pavilion, or go to the Outdoor Program website at



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