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Climbing Team and Engineering

November 19, 2014

About Me

My name is Josh Levin and I am a third year mechanical engineering student at Northeastern. I am also a professional rock climber. Normally, these two career paths are mutually exclusive, but I've found it to be the best way to bridge the gap between work and passion.

Broader Impacts at Northeastern

I grew up in Sunnyvale, California, and started rock climbing at the ripe old age of 4. It was instinctual to me; I was constantly climbing everything I could in the house before I could walk and my mom found me many times hanging from trees or light poles before I knew quite the risk I was taking. The natural outlet was a climbing gym, which my parents brought me to for the first time when I was 5. I absolutely loved it, and have been climbing ever since.

2013 Open National Championships
Boulder, CO.
Photo copyright Beau Kahler

I started to start competing by the age of 8, and was fortunate to have a successful youth career. I won my first National Championship when I was 9, and went on to win a total of 19 National Championship titles across three disciplines (speed, difficulty, and bouldering). Some of my other accomplishments include winning the Pan-American Championships 5 times, claiming the bronze medal at the 2008 Youth World Championships, and receiving the 2012 The North Face Young Gun Award.

One of the biggest things that I love about climbing is how well-rounded the sport is. You need to use all muscles in your body in addition to problem-solving abilities to find the most efficient way up a climb. For these reasons, it appeals highly to young professionals in the tech industry as well as kids who are looking for an alternative to mainstream sports such as football or basketball. 

When I arrived at Northeastern, I knew I wanted to create a team on campus in hopes of competing as a university. The Northeastern Climbing Team was finally founded in March 2014, and we went on to win the Regional Championships and place 2nd at Nationals. This semester, there were over 50 people who tried out for our 24-person team. More importantly, we established an incredible community of people passionate about climbing, which I feel is one of my biggest accomplishments in my career.

In the future, we will be training as a team to compete at the 2015 Collegiate Climbing National Championships, with the hopes of bettering our 2nd-place finish from last year. We've doubled our team size, and will be training hard to meet our goal. I'm very excited to have brought climbing to Northeastern, and I believe the creation of the team is just the beginning of what we are capable of.

About Me

My name is Evan Goldfinger and I am a sophomore Mechanical Engineer from New Rochelle, NY. I am the current president and co-founder of Northeastern’s club rock climbing team and a member of Baja SAE. 

Climbing Northeastern

Entering Northeastern as a freshman last year was a nerve-racking yet extremely exciting time in my life. Everything I needed in life was here: great people, an unbelievable education, and hands-on experience before I even graduate. The only thing missing was a rock climbing wall.

2nd Place
2013 Nationals

Rock climbing has been a passion for me ever since my older brother got me into it during middle school. This interest pushed me to eventually join my local gym’s competitive climbing team in high school. I competed during my freshman year, but soon realized I hate competing and stopped. While I still loved to train with my team, I gave up the stress of competition.

Once I got to Northeastern I immediately met with Alex Coda, an old teammate from high school, to climb with. There are no climbing gyms very close to campus, so our commute would sometimes take up to an hour. Alex also introduced me to Josh Levin, an extremely talented and well-known climber. The three of us decided that, despite my despise of competition, the only way to get a wall on campus was to start a team to compete in the Collegiate Climbing Series and show the school we would be successful.

Fast forward to spring semester, our proposal and budget are approved by club sports and we officially have a climbing team! We rushed to host tryouts, ending with 6 girls and 7 guys on the team. After a few weeks of intense practices, we drove to Concord, New Hampshire to compete in the regional Collegiate Climbing Series competition. Despite most climbers on the team never having competition experience, we gave our all and won! Only two more intense weeks later, we flew to Melbourne, Florida for Collegiate Climbing Series Nationals. The first day of the competition was the qualifying round, with over 200 students from over 30 different schools attending and, despite our small team, we qualified for finals in five out of the six categories! The second day of the competition (after watching the SpaceX launch in Cape Canaveral from the side of a highway followed by a beach party and BBQ) was finals. Almost everyone improved their qualifying placement by at least one spot, leading to an incredible second place finish for the climbing team!

This year, we had over 50 people try out for the team and now have 24 members. Because we had more time to advertise the team to talented climbers before tryouts and doubled our team size, I have faith that we can do great this coming competition season. Hopefully on April 18th we can successfully call ourselves national champions. In addition, we hope to organize a competition that encourages students of all climbing skills from local Boston colleges to compete. Rock climbing is becoming increasingly popular, and I hope to have the Northeastern climbing team as a continuous driving force.