Grizzly Climbers gain altitude to gain respect

Three students were found climbing the outside of the Elliot Tower, according to multiple reports, April 1.

In what looked like a scene from a movie, the students found themselves scaling the 151 foot tower — harness free.

“Not enough exciting things happen on this campus,” Greg Belay, one of the Elliott Tower climbers, said. “MSU has couch burnings and Michigan has Jim Harbaugh.”

Dressed in bright neon colors, the climbers seemed to want the attention as the sun shined down on them. Hundreds of students gathered, creating a panic, which raised eyebrows at OUPD — sending them to the scene.

“At first, we thought it was some sort of student protest,” Johnny Law said. “Then a faculty member pointed to the top of the arch of the tower.”

First responders and firetrucks were sent to the scene, as well, preparing the cherry picker to get the students down.

However, the climbers insisted on having no help. Belay and his fellow climbers claim to have years of experience in harness free climbing.

“You can usually find us at Planet Rock Climbing Gym, in Madison Heights,” Belay said. “It’s the official home of the unofficial student organization, Grizzly Climbers.”

OU’s next ninjas

The idea for the club has come from the new fad of parkour and the popularity that has come from “American Ninja Warrior” — a TV show where competitors try to complete a series of obstacle courses.

Their goal is to compete on the American circuit and then, eventually, find their way to the famous Japanese version.

“Since Oakland will not recognize us, it is hard to get any funding and support,” Belay said.

The climbers said they have taken to practicing on benches, tables and now the Elliott Tower in hopes of raising awareness about their club and get official representation.

“All we are asking for is a little bit of respect,” Amber Bidoigt, Grizzly Climbers vice president, said. “Sure, we are not as beneficial as the debate team, but we are a place for like-minded individuals who like to be adventurous.”

The climbers did finish their trek to the top of the 151 foot tower. 

Unfortunately, their biggest challenge was met at ground level — where Oakland University President George Hynd was patiently waiting.

Hynd gave no comment on the future of the Grizzly Climbers club or its members.

Contact the writer at [email protected].