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Stacking Crates for Sport

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A UW-L student participates in a unique event

A UW-L student participates in a unique event

Cal U'Ren

Cal U'Ren

A UW-L student participates in a unique event

Cal U'Ren, Sports Reporter

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On Thursday, March 9, the University of Wisconsin La Crosse hosted a unique event within the Recreational Eagle Center’s (Rec) rock wall. The event was called Crate Stacking and is an athletic test that most people haven’t heard about.

Crate Stacking involves participants building a tower of plastic crates beneath them as they climb higher up the wall. Climbers must either have new crates thrown up to them or pulled up by a rope once higher in the air.

As each crate is added the structure becomes unstable, making it harder for the climber to balance as they juggle staying on the crates while adding another and climbing up to the next step. Participants struggled to keep solid footing and were visibly shaking the event went on.

This is type of Crate Stacking is a variant of the original type of Crate Stacking that does not involve a rock wall. Instead, participants would have to balance on the crates themselves, strategically placing new crates on their tower while trying to keep it all balanced.

The current record at UW-L was 18 crates, with one person achieving 14 before having the tower tumble beneath them. The smaller size of the UW-L climbing wall was a conducive environment for the event. Participants were eager to make their attempt at breaking the record. The second someone finished, another was quick to jump in line.

As the number of crates grew, the stability of the towers greatly decreased. It was a test of strength, focus and namely, balance.

“I’d say balance is a big part of it. Foot placement especially, to succeed you must have solid technique,” stated Hannah Cowan, one of UW-L’s climbing wall supervisors.

When the stack of crates got higher each slight movement shook the tower and put the climbers on edge, making each additional step a difficult choice of proper foot placement and balance. If that wasn’t enough, climbers then had to look up and catch the next crate that was thrown to them, before properly locking it into place and ascending again.

Managing placement of a new crate was often the downfall of anyone who tried. With each failed tower audience members had to be prepared as crates flew out into random directions, stirring up chalk all around.

It’s the second time the climbing wall has hosted the event, which began last semester. A previous graduate assistant that came from a gym in Oshkosh brought the idea with him.

The event was a new challenge for climbers more familiar with using a wall detailed with routes they can plan. The Crate Stacking posed a unique challenge that was simplistic yet incredibly challenging even for the experienced climbers.

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