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Climbing the walls … and the rocks

Sophomore Remi Arata approaches computer science — and competitive climbing — like a puzzle to be solved.

April 28, 2016

After winning at last week
After winning at last week's National Collegiate Climbing Championship, sophomore Remi Arata will compete at the Collegiate Climbing World Cup in China this October. PHOTO: Courtesy of Remi Arata

Climbing is a family affair for Remi Arata. The 19-year-old from Boulder, Colorado, learned to climb by watching his parents enjoy the sport, and apparently, he learned really well: Arata beat 211 other climbers last week in the “sport climbing” category at USA Climbing’s National Collegiate Climbing Championship in San Diego, California, and will advance to the Collegiate Climbing World Cup in China this October.

“I started climbing at an early age and was competing by the time I was 12 or 13,” said the MSU Denver sophomore, a double major in computer science and applied math. “When I was 16, I came in the top 10 at the Adult/Pro Open Competition.”

Arata estimates that between training for competitions and working at a Boulder rock climbing gym, he spends about 70 hours per week climbing, and thinking and talking about the sport. He commutes to MSU Denver from Boulder each day for his classes via the RTD bus system. The commute is time he uses to study and prepare for the day.

“Climbing has taught me about problem solving, both physically and mentally,” Arata said. “It’s helped shape how I approach time management for work, class and climbing.”

He approaches climbing as a puzzle to solve; his analytical mind considers every angle and every move on his way to the top. “It’s also a fun way to stay in shape and spend time with my family, and the climbing community,” he said.

School is also a puzzle, which he approaches with the same work ethic and problem-solving abilities he learned while climbing. As a computer science major he enjoys the classes that provide hands-on problems to solve.

“Dr. Krammer in Computer Science got us involved with computer programming from the start,” he said. “In Computer Science II we’re learning more about how to apply the code and how it influences other code. It’s a lot like climbing as everything is connected.”

Arata opted to enroll at MSU Denver because he believed it offered a more personalized experience. “I love the small classes and one-on-one time with my professors,” he said. “The professors are really involved and accessible to students. They are flexible with my competition schedule, and I don’t know if I could get that somewhere else.”

After graduation, Arata wants to be a professional computer coder and plans to continue climbing. “I’d love to find a job with a company where I can work remotely or telecommute,” he said. “The ideal job would be one where I can code from anywhere so I can travel to international competitions like the European World Cup.”

Note: Climbing is listed as an exhibition sport during the 2016 Rio Summer Olympic Games. It is on the short list for inclusion in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games.