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Rock climbing popularity rising at UT

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Rock climbing is a sport that's flown under the radar at The University of Texas, but after clinching the national championship club team title last spring, the sport's notoriety is climbing. 

Thanks to a 500,000 dollar renovation of their 17-year-old practice wall at Gregory Gym, that national championship team has some new terrain where it can train. 

The Assistant Director for the division of Recreational Sports at UT, Chris Burnett, said that the sport has evolved drastically in those 17 years since the original wall was built.

UT Rec Sports made it a priority to incorporate student-climbers needs into the new wall. 2012 National Champ, Ashley Ng, was on a committee to help in the design process.

"We did research into other walls and pulled pictures of what we wanted," Ng said. 

The students discussed everything from the addition of cracks and different holds to color scheme. The project took about four months to complete, but it has been at capacity since it's grand opening last month.

Rock climber and UT student, Fabio Grant, said the new wall is just "awesome" and only had good things to say about all of the new features.

The new climbing wall is not just for those experienced in rock climbing. UT Rec Sports offers classes for all levels.

"We focus on beginning classes and providing a good foundation for folks to learn the ethics and responsibility of safe climbing," Burnett said.

With 1,000 square feet of new climbing space and a state of the art 18-inch crash pad, the facility is much safer and can accommodate everyone's needs better.

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