Raised in Dayton, Ohio, Dalton Spurlin grew up appreciating the outdoors, but was never interested in activities like camping, climbing or backpacking.
Now a fourth-year nurse psychology student, Spurlin is the co-president of the University of Cincinnati Mountaineering Club.
The club offers students a chance to experience the outdoors and take a break from the city. In addition to mountaineering, the group participates in activities such as canoeing, rock climbing, kayaking, backpacking and white water rafting.
“We are an organization that is geared towards getting people of outdoors because obviously in Cincinnati, we are very much in a city,” Spurlin said. “There is not much green space, so we try to get people outside.”
With over 1,000 members on campus, any member of the mountaineering club is welcome to lead a trip.
“If [members] want to lead a trip, we send them out. We don’t turn away leaders or trips,” Spurlin said. “We have multiple trips going out every weekend and bigger trips on larger breaks.”
Typically, the club plans trips out west for spring break and down in Texas or Florida for winter break. Throughout the school semester, members go white water rafting in West Virginia and mountaineering and backpacking in Mount Washington, New Hampshire, Indiana, Colorado, California, New Mexico and many others.
Being such a prominent and large student organization, the club receives university subsidization to cover costs. In addition, because each trip travels in a group of 10 to 12, the costs tend to be much lower for students than they would be individually. Plus, the organization houses a “Gear Cave” with gear for nearly every outdoor activity. Equipment is available to rent for just $20 a semester.
“Kids don’t need to buy backpacks, they don’t need to buy tents, sleeping bags, filters, stoves or anything because we provide all of that,” Spurlin said. “They just pay the gear fee and they have unlimited access to all of that.”
Being such a large organization to organize, it has decided to have two presidents this year. Joining Spurlin is Lizzie Mosier, a sixth-year architectural engineering student.
Mosier first joined the organization her freshman year before she got her own gear and decided to explore on her own, leaving the group. A friend of hers got involved and told her that the group was in need of trip leaders who could be confident in their leadership. Looking back, Mosier realizes she missed that sense of community when she was not a part of the club.
As president, Mosier hopes to focus on having a variety of trips that reflect student’s different levels of experiences and expertise when it comes to outdoor activities.
“Sometimes the mountaineering club can get very much like all backpacking trips, that are nice but it is good to have a variety,” Mosier said.
UC Mountaineering Club meets every Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Old Chemistry 527 to plan different trips, discuss outdoor safety or invite alumni to talk about past experiences.