Cheers and shouts of encouragement erupt from the crowd standing
beneath the 45-foot climbing wall as a climber in a bright yellow
helmet nears the top.
“Push with your left leg!”
“That’s it! You’ve got it!”
The Challenge Course, 1717 Centre Ave., moved south of campus
when Summit Hall, the new residence hall, was built in its original
location on Pitkin Street.
Despite the change in location, the services are the same.
The course offers full- and half-day courses to CSU students as
well as the general public, with both low- and high-element
Half-day courses last five hours and cost $13 for CSU students.
Full days cost $22.
Ray Aberle, the assistant director of Campus Recreation, said
use of the course is evenly split between CSU students, local
school districts and religious and corporate groups.
The course combines four components into each course, Aberle
Energizers and games focus on problem solving and
The course also features a giant swing in which someone is
harnessed in and jumps off a platform to swing 30 feet through the
The Challenge Course’ other half features low elements, such as
the spider web, and high elements, which includes a tower with six
different routes and a catwalk.
Still, the course offers much more than just a physical
challenge, Aberle said. It is also a mental, emotional and
spiritual experience that allows people to learn more about
Karen Fowler, one of the 15 facilitators for the course, said
the course allows people to step out of their comfort zone and into
a “growth zone.”
“People tend to find out new things about themselves here and
discover what they’re capable of,” she said. “Often people will get
something out of the experience which they take with them and apply
to other aspects of their lives.”
The course is where success is not determined by achievement but
by willingness to try new experiences, according to the Web site,
The course experience emphasizes support, trust, safety and
Max Lamb, a freshman at Poudre High School, participated in the
course with his schoolmates as part of the International
“You get to see the more serious side of people, because you
really can’t mess around while doing the course,” Lamb said.
Chris Hays, director of the IB Program for the Poudre School
District, said she brought the IB kids to the course to help ease
their anxieties about starting high school and to help the group to
Hays participated in the course as part of her administrative
training at CSU for her position in Poudre School District.
“It’s really about having trust in yourself,” she said.
After a failed attempt, Poudre High School freshman Lindsey
Hankins reached the top of the climbing wall and said she was glad
to have overcome her fears.
“It’s a good feeling to get that far up,” she said.
The course, which was built in 1986, accepts groups of eight to
80 people, although 40 people are best fit for the space.
The course is fairly popular; more than 90 people came through
in two hours during Ram Welcome this year.
Typically 60 to 200 hundred people participate each week,
varying in age from 12 to 80.
“It’s about healthy risk-taking, team building and human
development,” Aberle said.
Aberle said the course is also somewhat of a renewing
“It uses you up,” he said. “You leave with a tiredness that
renews you, and with a deeper and knowledge of yourself.”
Sarah Blaser, a senior, has been working with the course for
“Our goal here is to let you set your own goals,” she said.