Students climb at the Outdoor Recreation Center at 855 Woody Hayes Dr. Credit: Courtney Ward | For The Lantern

In honor of Valentine’s Day, students can spark some competition with their partner at the climbing wall in the Outdoor Adventure Center.

The center is hosting its annual Valentine’s Day Climbing Contest on Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. The facility is located on west campus, inside the Adventure Recreation Center at 855 Woody Hayes Drive.

David Roth, an Ohio State engineering student and Recreational Sports employee, said the Valentine’s Day Climbing Contest has been evolving over the past few years. The contest is open to all, from first-timers or experienced climbers.

The climbing challenge begins in pairs. Partners will simultaneously go up the 35-foot tall rock wall, while connected by paper handcuffs. The climbing wall will be specially arranged to have multiple routes of varying difficulty levels.

Partners don’t have to be romantic couples, it could be a friend or someone that you just met on the floor, Roth said.

The winners of the challenge must successfully reach the top of the wall without breaking the paper cuffs. If the cuffs break while climbing, the group must come down but are allowed to try again. There will also be speed trials.

David said this challenge is designed to ignite teamwork and togetherness. There could be a time when one partner needs to climb on the other, to move them both forward.

There are small prizes such as free water bottles for the groups that complete the challenge.

“Climbing as a sport is like my escape from the world,” Roth said. “It’s like nothing else exists when I go up there, I’m pushing myself and seeing what I can do.”

Roth said climbing is mentally stimulating, like a puzzle. It is a grounding sport that strengthens skills such as problem solving and helps people eliminate a fear of heights. Climbing is about the self; it is about discovering limits and continuing to push yourself harder and harder, he said.

Sydney Palmer, a recent OSU graduate, continues to come to the Outdoor Adventure Center and help out. She said the center is where she found a sense of family. She has been climbing since her freshman year at Ohio State. While the latest competition will be in pairs, Palmer said it’s about the individual.

“If you need a new love, come climbing,” she said. “You’re not competing against anyone else, you’re challenging yourself.”

The Valentine’s Day Climbing Contest is free to all OSU students with a valid BuckID. Guest passes are available for $10 with access to all Rec Sports facilities. There is no pre-registration, sign-ups will be on a first-come, first-served basis.