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October 08, 1998 - Image 20

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-10-08

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68 - The Michigan Daily Weekend Magazine - Thursday, October 8, 1998
Rock climbing offers a one-of-a-kind workout



The Michigan Daily Weekend Magazine - hursday, October 8, 1998 -1
Diag's 'M' means more than just a
couple of failed blue book exams

By Alexandra Arch
For The Daily
Tired of the same old exercise? Does
it challenge you, push your limits, or
get you 20 feet off the ground? Well,
rock climbing does.
Rock climbing is growing in popu-
larity, causing gyms adapted for the
sport to spring up all over the country
- even in Ann Arbor.
Established in 1993, the Ann Arbor
Climbing Gym has found success with
students, area professionals and locals.
With more than 4,000 square feet of
wall space, the gym caters to people of
all abilities and ages. For climbing
buffs, the gym offers corners, over-
hangs, roofs, cracks, a 720-cubic-foot
bouldering cave and more than 170 feet
of continuous bouldering. In other
words, the Ann Arbor Climbing Gym is
just full of walls.
Never tried rock climbing? Don't
have any gear? Don't worry, the gym
provides you with everything you need
- even lessons from the trained staff
on-hand. For moderate to experienced
climbers who don't need the instruc-
tion, the gym is a great place to regain
or improve skills with its challenging
walls. The climbing gym features color-
coded climbing routes, each indicating
a greater degree of difficulty. As climb-

ing abilities progress and climbers
begin to feel more comfortable, they
can vary climbing routes to make every
visit new.
Rock climbing is both physically and
mentally challenging. The act of climb-
ing is a full workout using virtually
every muscle in order to pull climbers'
body weight up the walls.
As these physical benefits become
apparent through time and loyalty to the
sport, there are also additional benefits
to climbers.
The mental challenge is a large com-
ponent of rock climbing. The sport's
individual nature requires concentration
and trust. Rock climbing improves indi-
vidual capabilities of balance and
strength and also fosters teamwork. The
reassurance and cooperation ofa climb-.
ing partner become essential to your
overall success.
Ann Arbor Climbing Gym employee
Mike Koziol notes the self-satisfaction
of rock climbing: "The challenge is
always there," he explained. "You are
never an expert in rock climbing."
The gym's trained staff are accom-
plished indoor and outdoor climbers
and will teach the beginners and experi-
enced alike, always emphasizing safety.
LSA sophomore Andy Rontal has
climbed at the gym for a few weeks.

"For me, it's a workout that is a great
alternative to running," he said. "Rock
climbing is frustrating at first, but itsis
rewarding to see your progress every
time you come into the gym."
Mark Erman, also an LSA sopho-
more, is more experienced in climbing.
He calls climbing "mentally rewarding"
and loves to see his progression on the
different colored routes. He suggested
coming to the gym twice a week in
order to nail down the technicalities and
get an overall feel for the sport.
Jill Arvai, a Nursing senior, recently
came to the gym for her first lesson in
rock climbing.
"Stepping into the gym was a bit
intimidating, but the staff took me
through the lesson step by step," Arvai
said. "By my fourth climb, I really felt
a sense of accomplishment and left the
gym feeling energized. I would defi-
nitely come back in the future."
The Ann Arbor Climbing Gym is
open from 3-11 p.m. on weekdays and
I1 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and
Sunday. Rock climbing can be a good
break from studying as well as a great
way to vary your fitness regiment.
The University Recreation Center
offers sponsored climbing trips to
areas like Grand Ledge park near

By Sasha Higgins
For the Daily
The shortest distance between two
points is a straight line. When one is
in a hurry, as so many of our
University's students are, one would
probably apply this fundamental law
of geometry to get to a destination
that much quicker. But this is hot the
case in the daily hustle and bustle of
the Diag.
Hundreds of students, very aware
of the advantages of a straight line,
make 'decidedly serpentine tracks
across the heart of this University
landmark. Students are willing to
add that three or four seconds onto
their tight schedules, so as not to
step on what may be one of the most
symbolic spots on campus: the 'M'.
The 'M' is part of a well known
superstition on campus. According to
legend, if you step on it, you fail your
first blue book exam. Freshmen tend to
drift as far away as possible from the
'M,' memories of orientation leaders
warning them about it fresh in their
minds. Some older students, even those
who have undergone their first blue
book experience, are still cautious
about it.
Amber Dawkins, an LSA sopho-
more, has already taken her first blue
book. "I just don't step on it because
I'm still afraid of failing an exam," she
For others who have taken their first
blue book, however, stepping on the
'M' is a liberating experience.
"It's just kind of fun to walk right.
over the center of it," said LSA junior
Karen Masciulli.
There's more to the 'M' than the

blue book myth. The 'M' seal was a
gift from the graduating class of
1953 to then-University President at
the time, Harlan Hatcher. The design
of the 'M' was decided by an art
contest held by the class. The seal,
which is half an inch thick and made
of solid bronze, originally cost
In October
of 1997,
many stu- "People K
dents, prepar-
ing for the Where to g
dreaded blue ichi an"
books, may
have felt very
vulnerable. H
The 'M' was
removed in
May of that year to be taken to
Minnesota so it could be attached to a
granite slab. The University then decid-
ed to use a different type of granite, and
the 'M' returned to Ann Arbor
unchanged. The 'M' is now encased in
a piece of granite from a Brazilian
Fred Mayer, who heads the
University Planning Office, said that
the 'M' had not been touched before
this since its installation in 1953.
"They cleaned the 'M' up and took
care of any maintenance that needed
to be done," said Mayer. The 'M'
does not really require any other


upkeep, because of the durability of
bronze. "Bronze in public use has
stood there for hundreds and hun-
dreds of years," said Mayer, citing
the example of Michelangelo's
David, which was cast early in the
16th century.
A group of fans targeted the 'M' as
the site for a bit of pre-game vandal-
ism tto
weeks ago,
Ow .XaCtIy painting it
with the let-
teat cr S
Luckily, no
damage was
- Fred Mayer done, and
ad, University Planing the paint
was easy to
Mayer said that fortunately, "serious
vandalism to public art and symbol-
ism on this campus has not been too
bad." Mayer explained that such
pranks are prevalent on college ca'ii-
puses: "After all, we sprayed their
Sparty [statue] blue and yellow."
State students chose the 'M' knowing
that it stands as a central point of the
University's campus. Located in the
heart of the Diag, the 'M' is frequently
surrounded by crowds of students,
bands, organizations. When friends ask
Mayer where the middle of the campus
is, Mayer says, "people know exactly
where to go at Michigan."

The size of four football fields, "Bronner's Christmas Wonderland" claims to be the
largest Christmas store in the world. With a 20-foot tall Santa, it provides visitors
with a unique perspective on the holiday.

Rackham first-year graduate student Mike Vanlent shows us how it's done.

Continued from Page 101B
loud patrons tell jokes with German
words as punch lines. The menu
includes wiener Schnitzel, sauerbraten,
and a dish called kasseler rippchen.
What Bronner's is to Christmas, the
Bavarian Inn Restaurant tries to be to
Bavaria. One of the restaurant's dining
rooms is painted with characters from
Grimm's Fairy Tales. Helen Culbert, a
waitress, explains: "It's just because
Grimm's is German. Each dining room
has its own German thing on she walls"'
Culbert wears an unusual frock-like cos-
tume that she says is called a "drenzel."
That, then, is Frankenmuth, prov-
ing that even if every day cannot
really be Christmas, some people
will pretend it is.


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Ann Arbor resident Jon Rollert says he comes to the gym at least once every two weeks. Above, he scales one of the Ann
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