The Daily Gamecock

Mountaineering and Whitewater Rafting Club adds adventure to campus


Students know there’s a wide variety of settings, activities and experiences to be found in Columbia — anybody who needs a break from classrooms and residence halls has options ranging from Maxcy Gregg Park to the Blatt P.E. Center to the W. Gordon Belser Arboretum. 

But if Columbia is lacking in one area, it’s definitely adventure. That is, adventure in the classic sense of the word, meaning taking risks in the complete wilderness. And for that, USC has Mountaineering and Whitewater Rafting Club.

According to club president Ej Holcombe, MWW has been an active organization at USC for far longer than any current students have been around. And while many other age-old groups like this exist in name only, MWW is the opposite, meeting every week and, incredibly, going on at least one trip every weekend. 

There are about 20 students on an average MWW trip, in addition to four of the club’s officers. Trips include such activities as backpacking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, caving, bouldering and kayaking.

“We are open to faculty and staff, but most of our people are students,” Holcombe, third-year biology student, said. “We have a lot of freshmen, which is great because it allows them to kind of get out there and get to know people, [and] we have a good, solid amount of juniors, sophomores and a couple seniors.”

Many of the trips taken by the club might sound expensive, but their system actually makes it incredibly manageable. Every club member is simply required to pay $60 in dues at the beginning of the semester, and all gear and other trip materials are covered for any trip members take that semester — tents, backpacks, etc.

Talking with Holcombe about this club makes it clear that these trips are about more than just friends having a good time; they’re about friends challenging themselves and sharing experiences in a way that couldn’t happen in a more comfortable setting.

“There was this cool trip last semester where we fell in love with this place called Panthertown Valley up in North Carolina,” Holcombe said. “It was cold, really cold, but beautiful, with lots of rivers and waterfalls and everything, and there was this bank that we went out to at night, and the sand was just pearly white, with sparkles, and so we went out there and all of the sudden it just starts snowing. And so we’re sanding on a beach, in the middle of the mountains, and it’s snowing. And that was a very amazing moment, and we all got to share it.”

Mountaineering and Whitewater Rafting Club is still accepting new members, but spots for trips are filling up fast.

The last chance for new members to sign up will be  will be Monday, Sept. 28 at 8:30 p.m. in Currell 107.