The Alpine Club is the perfect outlet for students to engage in the outdoors and support their mental health

climbing wall at the rec
Elise Ledesma | The Arbiter

For Boise State students who enjoy the outdoors and hanging in high places, the Alpine Club may be just what you’re looking for. 

Run by president Cedric Salvador and vice president Christopher D’Onofrio, the Alpine Club is focused on getting students outside and climbing. 

 Alpinism is the scale of and ascending of tall mountains such as rock climbing, skiing and traversing. 

“We want to make people that don’t share the same level of experience feel as if climbing and alpinism can be tangible for them to do,” D’Onofrio said. “The hardest aspect of that as a newcomer is engaging with experienced climbers for a multitude of reasons, but here at Boise State and Alpine Club we endorse inclusivity and kindness.” 

Through education and safety training, D’Onofrio and Salvador are bringing awareness to the climbing community and giving students the opportunity to pursue rock climbing outside of a classroom setting.

The club is open to anyone regardless of technical experience with climbing. From beginner to expert, no level is unwelcome. 

The club hosted their first meeting of the season on Oct. 31 at the Boise State Gymnasium.

“When our club gathers, we are very lively,” D’Onofrio said. “We currently have a great mix of newcomers and old crusties. This dynamic results in much storytelling from us, the old crusties, and perky ears from the newcomers. We are all trying to get to know each other and shape trust for each other.” 

Salvador said that in this day and age of technology, society is losing this concept of “third spaces.” As coined by sociologist Ray Oldenburg, third spaces are places where you meet people outside of home and work (those being first and second spaces). 

With the introduction of online school and remote learning, the amount of people who travel to third spaces is diminishing.

climbing wall at the rec
[Photo of the climbing wall at the Boise State Rec Center.]
Elise Ledesma | The Arbiter

“Clubs allow people to meet in a third space and create a sense of community, which is not only important to students but also the school in general,” Salvador said. 

Nearly 44% of college-age students are experiencing depression and anxiety, according to a Mayo Clinic study.

However, a 2015 study published by BMC Psychiatry shows that rock climbing and bouldering (rock climbing without a rope on shorter walls) may be a potential aid. 

The same study found that participants of an eight-week rock climbing study experienced reduced depression. The finding supports that incorporating rock climbing into the weekly routine of college students could improve overall  mental health. 

For Salvador, joining the Alpine Club during his first year at Boise State granted him a space to engage in climbing and build a community.

“My friends showed me how to build anchors and belay people on lead,” Salvador said. “Being a freshman in this group really helped, and I made a bunch of friends and connections in the process.”

D’Onofrio shared a similar sentiment with his Alpine Club experience. Being vice president has increased  his level of engagement in the community, which is a motivating factor. 

“The club has always brought with it a level of excitement and enthusiasm,” D’Onofrio said.  “Any talk of mountaineering and climbing brings me joy in itself. Equally so is sharing that passion with someone else. For me personally Alpine Club has enabled me to be a part of a community that is greater than me.” 

For students interested in joining the Alpine Club, contact

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