Bailey McCaffrey

Using a climbing harness for the first time can feel intimidating for a variety of reasons. With multiple loops, buckles and straps, putting one on can feel like a puzzle. Even the most experienced climbers can get tripped up from time to time.

Fortunately, taking this process step by step can transform this seemingly difficult task into something as simple as putting on a pair of pants. Learning the ins and out of this device will increase your confidence when it comes to trusting a harness and is a great place to start when beginning your climbing experience.

Although many harnesses are universal in style and shape, each one has its own design, so it is important to look at your personal devices instruction manual for specifics this how-to article is specific to the harnesses used at CSU Campus Recreation.

Step 1:

Loosen all the buckles: Find the waist loop and each leg loop, loosening the three buckles but do not take the straps fully out of its metal or clasp.

Step 2:

Remove the twists: A climbing harness consists of three loops, one for the waist, and a loop for each leg. Locate the orange webbing above where the harness says Black Diamond. This will go just above you belly button and the loop it is attached to is the waist loop. Find each of these by removing twist until you see a shape similar to this one (image below)

Step 3:

Step into the leg loops: Step through the waist loop and put one leg in each of the leg loops. The buckles on the harness should be in front of you. After stepping through, pull the harness up, as if you were putting on a pair of pants.

Step 4:
Tighten the buckles: Tighten each buckle begging with the waist strap by pulling the tail end of the strap. The harness should fit just below the height of your belly button. After the waist loop is tight, tighten the harness to fit each leg. You will know each of these loops are tight enough if you put two fingers in between the harness and you body, and are unable to twist the sideways.  

Step 5:

Double check for security: Make sure each piece of the harness if untwisted and pulled taught to your body. Make sure each buckle is double backed and secure. Check to make sure there is at least two inches of slack in the leg and waist straps. Check your attitude to make sure you are up for a good time of climbing safety! If not, take the harness off and start from step one.








You’re ready to climb!

Well, after you ask an expert belayer to give you a catch and get tied into the top rope. Remember, CSU Campus Recreation requires you to be belay certified by a Climbing Wall employee to belay someone for top rope and lead climbing. The Campus Recreation Climbing  Wall is the perfect place to begin your climbing journey. Employees want to, “show you the ropes,” and make sure you are safe and ready to climb, just don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Watch out for more how to articles to follow, including how to boulder, how to tie a figure 8 knot, and other climbing basics.

Contact if you have how to article suggestions about  any area of CSU Campus Recreation.



Now is the time

Click HERE for more information.

Starting this Monday, Sept. 10th, Personal Fitness Training courses will begin at Campus Recreation. Over the following ten weeks, students will learn needed skills to achieve their personal training certification. This certification will help students advance in their fitness skills and will provide opportunities to train others who may need your expertise. These personal training skills open the doors for numerous job and fitness opportunities in the future.


The course will be held Monday and Wednesday Nights from 5:30-7, coming to completion on Nov. 14. Throughout the course, students will learn how to help clients lose weight, improve flexibility, build strength, and overall find a successful fit for them by feeling better about themselves. The course will also give students time and resources needed to prepare for the American Council on Exercise (ACE) national certification exam. ACE is a fitness certification, education and training provider with over 73,000 certified fitness professionals.

At the end of the program, there will be opportunities to become a part of the personal training team at Campus Recreation. Personal trainers are much needed and this positive experience will also advance your career for the better. But no matter if you want to take the course recreationally or for work, it is worthwhile to help your future. 

Courtney Therrien is the Personal Training Manager and has been working at Campus Rec over the past two years. As an experienced trainer, she now instructs the course, teaching anatomy, physiology, exercise programming, nutrition and many other health and fitness topics. Courtney encourages anyone with a passion for helping others, wellness, and fitness to take the course because no requisites are necessary. 

“Every day I train my clients is a win in the books. Every day that my clients step into the gym is a small win, and when they complete one more rep or lift a little more weight or run one mile faster. The biggest win of being a personal trainer is helping my clients be able to move better overall is another success. When a client comes back to me and says they biked or walked to classes or work with no pain, or they could lift a heavier box when helping a friend move is a success. Being a personal trainer is continuously filled with successes and wins and I absolutely love that aspect of my job!” -Courtney Therrien 

The course is $189.00, and will be held in the Student Rec Center, meeting room AB.  If you are interested in becoming a personal trainer or learning what it’s all about, come to the first course Monday Sept. 10th at 5:30 pm.

Becoming a Triathlete 

By: Bailey McCaffrey

Al Alothman is an Atypical Rec’ing Ram. As a senior majoring in Electrical Engineering, he began his Colorado State University fitness journey four years ago, after transferring from California State University Fullerton. Since coming to CSU, he created a fitness journey for himself with no limits.  

His Beginning

Starting when Al was five years old, he began practicing judo, an activity he did competitively until he was 25. At age 20, he took up cycling and Mixed Martial Arts, (MMA). As he became more immersed in his athletic career around six years ago, he received some hard news. 

Al’s sports medicine trainer told him because of a torn abductor muscle his sports career had come to an end. “I got really frustrated and stopped working out for two years, until I moved to Fort Collins.” Al commented.

His CSU Journey

After Al came to CSU, he was inspired by the many recreational activities that came with living at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. During a normal walk though the plaza, the triathlon team caught his eye and he couldn’t help but sign up. This encounter sparked his future passion for endurance sports. Although running and swimming have never been Al’s favorites, his love for cycling makes it all worth it, keeping him encouraged during challenges. 

These endurance activities have taught him how to stay in shape and more. While studying engineering and working a part time job, Al has made time to stay active, often training up to six days a week. This has made a huge impact on the way he manages time though out the year, finding ways to prioritize what’s most important to him, such as staying active. 

Al says the best part about kickstarting his fitness journey has been the freedom to eat donuts and pizza, an advantage which many of us can be inspired by. 

“It’s never too late to start.” Al says. ” And always set a long term goal.” This is his advice for anyone new to the world of recreation, just starting out, or overwhelmed by the endless possibilities in fitness. Al set a goal for himself four years ago to finish a full Ironman within the next five years, he is completing a half Ironman this semester, and is ready to run his first full during the Summer of 2019. 

Al’s atypical story is inspiring and encouraging to those at Campus Recreation! If you, or anyone you know, has a fitness journey with no limits, we want to hear about it. Email us at or message us on Facebook or Instagram

Story by Bailey McCaffrey

Employees at Campus Recreation are constantly promoting the health and wellness of students and staff throughout Colorado State University. This August, staff broadened their positive influence further into Fort Collins by partnering with United Way of Larimer County.

Rec Ramp Up

Rec Ramp Up is an annual all-staff event held at the start of each fall semester to build community among Campus Recreation student and professional employees. This year, 320 student employees had the opportunity to create their workplace community and culture while serving the community by assembling more than 300 hygiene kits that were later given to homeless individuals across Larimer County.

Campus Recreation has a Student Staff Development Committee that consists of both student and professional staff. Their goal for this year was to incorporate the departmental values of integrity, community and development into Rec Ramp Up, in a more relatable way to staff. After discussing how to integrate an aspect of community, they contacted United Way to partner on the “Service-to-Go” project.

How it worked 


 During theHygiene kits created fall kick-off event, teams of staff were asked to complete a variety of team-building and self-development   tasks and, in return, they received items needed to complete each hygiene kit. Each kit included essentials such as a   toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, lotion, etc. Many of the products were donated by local   businesses like The Hilton and Delta Dental.

 “Not only did the service project allow students to live the value of community, but it also provided space for them to meet   one another, gather together as a work family, and kick off their year by doing some good.” says Brit Heiring, chair of the   Student Staff Development Committee.

 United Way has designed Service-to-Go to be a fun and interactive experience that can be held at any time and any place.   Campus Recreation used the opportunity to provide on-site service work for every employee to participate in while learning   about the department and getting to know their 319 co-workers.



Rec Cares 

Rec Cares is another committee in Campus Recreation that focuses on service. Each semester, staff are provided multiple opportunities to participate in a variety of community service events. Two of the bigger events include Adopt-a-Street, in which staff clean up a section of Shields Street between Mulberry and Prospect, and Warm-a-Winter-Wish, which is dedicated to providing holiday support to students with independent backgrounds.

Organizers commended Campus Recreation staff for their commitment to both service and community, as well as United Way Larimer County for helping put together a successful and positive day of training.


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