Photo by Liv Pierog

Femmes and Thems climbing but I am afraid of heights

Liv Pierog




GNAR’s “Femmes and Thems” climbing event took place Feb. 26, at the Health and Human Performance Center’s climbing wall. 

Walking across the athletic complex and up the sprawling steps of the Health and Human Performance Center one can tell that it is easily one of the nicest buildings on campus, understandably where PSU has their Trustees eat when they visit, as opposed to Prospect with the peasant folk. 

The hallways to get into the gym are just long and mysterious enough for me to begin to question if I know where the fuck I am, before I finally reach the famed PSU Athletics gym. 

I am met with a sign saying “Please remove shoes before entering”. I obey, and step into the gym. Eyes immediately on the ground I see a sea of white sneakers on the black gym floor, a womens athletic team is running drills. I felt a sting of self consciousness creep up on me that mixed perfectly with the aroma of gym floor mats that actually transported me back to high school PE. I hoped I was not out of my depth here at Femmes and Thems climbing.

GNAR’S Christine Aery was setting up for the event when I arrived. She invited me to climb and face my fear of heights, but alas, I am a weenie and I will not climb. It is, however, always nice to be invited. 

Photo by Liv Pierog

In the first ten minutes a few climbers shuffled in, got their climbing shoes on and got to cookin’. For those wondering if it is okay to climb in jeans, both the femmes and thems’ said “yes, honey.”

The Femmes and Thems harnessed up to climb the big wall. It was a little nerve wracking to watch. But of course they crushed it, everyone making the top and returning safely to the earth’s surface.

All of a sudden, my new friend Aery’s chill climbing playlist was somewhat violently drowned out by “bounce that ass” music sending vibrations throughout the gym. I realize that the girls are getting dialed in for a late night lifting session. The climbers coped with this vibe switch better than I. 

The bass boosted remix of “Stir Fry” by Migos fills the air, and vibrates the floor and seat beneath me. I am transported once again back to highschool.

More GNAR members arrive at the wall to climb. One member even brought a cool personalized chalk bag. The vibe remains mellow as people gear up for their last few climbs. 

The energy was fun and these kids sure could climb. They used lots of chalk on their hands and no harnesses. Pretty metal, right?

I seriously enjoyed watching the more experienced climbers do their thing. It almost looks fun. Almost.