Kick off the spring by being Fit.Green.Happy!

The Alpine Tower stands against the blue sky.

Springtime in Maryville not only means warm weather and blooming trees; it means that Mountain Challenge’s Camp 4 is open for students and staff to enjoy. Camp 4 refers to the activities that are available in the backyard of the Crawford House on Wednesday afternoons from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., such as the Alpine Tower, bouldering cave, HIIT workouts, and yoga.

The Alpine Tower is a 60-foot tower made of three main tall wooden beams that converge to a point. The wooden beams are covered in climbing footholds, and the climber must also utilize ropes, nets, and other constructions to reach the top.

These additional structures make climbing the tower more challenging and interesting. At the top, there’s a flat observation deck, which offers a great view of the campus and the Smoky Mountains. The bouldering cave is located in the red barn behind Crawford House and is filled with climbing walls that were recycled from the old Alumni Gym. Climbing shoes are available.

Wendy Guillaume, wife of Mountain Challenge’s founder and director Bruce Guillaume, instructs HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts at 4:15 p.m. She typically sets up stations that target different muscle groups for people to rotate through, and, because she’s a certified fitness trainer, she can conduct personal fitness assessments and help students and staff develop an individualized workout plan.

Savanna Carney poses for a picture while in a hold in the bouldering cave. Photo by Kelsey Scharff

The yoga deck is in a shaded area of Crawford’s backyard, which makes it an ideal spot for peaceful meditating and/or stretching. Wendy Guillaume also instructs a group yoga class held there at 5:15 p.m.

The name Camp 4 was inspired by Yosemite National Park’s famous Camp 4 site, where climbers created a community around their sport. Maryville’s Camp 4 was launched in hopes of counteracting obesity and inactivity in the surrounding area, as well as facilitating an esprit-de-corps among the members of the Maryville College community.

Wednesday afternoons aren’t the only times you can participate in outdoor activities sponsored by the college! Mountain Challenge also hosts open trips on most weekends, which include hikes, rock climbing, and even white-water rafting. A schedule for these trips can be found here.

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