Hilltop Recreation Center continues Queer Climbing Nights

Hilltop welcomes all LGBTQ+ students to their bouldering wall at this biweekly event

Cade Fisher

More stories from Cade Fisher


The bouldering wall is free to students and staff all year round, not just at certain events like the Queer Climbing Night.

The Hilltop Recreation Center at UW-Eau Clare has created a Queer Climbing Night event at their bouldering wall, opening the space to the LGBTQ+ community. 

Having started on April 5, the Queer Climbing Night event has been going on from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. every other Tuesday. The last event was April 19 and the final event will be on May 3 according to the recreation services page.

Emma Street, the recreation sports operation intern at Hilltop, said she created this event after being inspired by neighboring universities’ similar inclusive recreation programs to connect with the queer community.

“It never feels marketed towards them. This is a space they can come to and they can feel open with themselves and meet new friends,” Street said.

The Queer Climbing Night event has three goals according to Street: allow queer students to make friends, have a good space to workout and have a new experience.

This event was inspired by events at other universities nearby. UW-La Crosse has monthly queer recreation events according to their website. Their upcoming event is a kickball tournament at their recreation facility.

According to Street, the Queer Climbing Night also had direct inspiration from UW-Superior where she fulfilled her undergraduate degree. Superior had a queer ropes course event that Street says turned out well.

In terms of UW-Eau Claire’s queer recreation event, Street stated that the event started as a way to make the Recreation Center more inclusive. This was following a tier 3 Equity, Inclusion and Diversity certificate that Street is completing at UW-Eau Claire.

This program sprouted the idea for the Queer Climbing Night according to Street. The EDI program is based on informing students on how to be more inclusive and create safe spaces according to the EDI program’s website.

“It became something that I really love to be a part of,” Street said. “And make sure everyone is included.”

According to Street, the first night of the event saw around 12 individuals show up to climb. Street said that this was impressive as advertising for the event had not started until two to three days before the event.

The advertisements for the event were done in partnership with the Gender and Sexualtity Resources Center, or GSRC, to create inclusive marketing infographics, according to Street.

Ashley Ingerbrigtson, a student manager at the Recreation Center, has been part of the team planning and implementing the Queer Climbing Night.

“It’s great to open the community to people we don’t see very often,” Ingerbrigston said. “It’s a great way to help them feel more comfortable coming to a place that they might not feel comfortable going too.”

She said climbing and the bouldering wall at Hilltop is mostly made up of white males, so the Queer Climbing Night was a way to create a more inclusive and diverse community.

Street said the events so far have had good turnouts and the Recreation Center is in the works of continuing the event into the next academic year.

The final Queer Climbing Night will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on May 3 at the bouldering wall in Hilltop Recreation Center.

Fisher can be reached at [email protected].