College of Idaho sophomore Matt Fultz is a rock climbing star. Fultz has been competing across the country since his early teens, and he became the first person from Idaho to win the USA Climbing Junior Nationals in 2004. Fultz put climbing on the back burner for a couple of years while he starred in football and track at Columbia High School (Nampa), but his dedication to the sport has reached new heights at C of I. He remains undefeated in Idaho competition and qualified for his first World Cup event last year.
This weekend, Fultz will be featured on The Real Winning Edge, a television program about young athletes overcoming obstacles and making positive life decisions. Fultz’s episode will air nationally Saturday, Jan. 21 on FOX (8 a.m. on KTRV Channel 12 in the Treasure Valley). Fultz’s segment will focus on climbing as well as dealing with peer pressure. Fultz will be introduced by professional skateboarder Christian Hosoi, who has fought to overcome the drug and legal problems that once hindered his career.
“One of the struggles of rock climbing is there is a lot of drug use in the sport, especially smoking pot,” Fultz said. “I’ve avoided that, and I would like to be a positive influence for the local climbing community. I’m hoping the show reflects that.”
In addition to competition, Fultz enjoys outdoor climbing throughout the Treasure Valley. Some of his favorite local spots include Swan Falls near Kuna, Reynolds Creek near Melba and the Lucky Peak Reservoir cliffs near Boise – all less than 45 minutes from campus. He long ago mastered the C of I climbing wall and currently works and trains at The Front rock climbing gym in Boise.
“What I love about climbing is the physical problem solving,” Fultz said. “Here you have this challenge in front of you, and you have to solve it in your mind and then try to execute your solution with your body. I’ve always enjoyed puzzles like that. It feels so awesome when you figure it out and reach the top.”
Fultz, an exercise science major, would like to attend graduate school and become a physical trainer or therapist. He also is excited that rock climbing will become an Olympic sport in 2020, though he acknowledged he “might be too old by then.” Fultz encourages anyone interested in climbing to contact him via email at [email protected].
Founded in 1891, The College of Idaho is the state’s oldest private liberal arts college. It has a century-old tradition of educating some of the most accomplished graduates in Idaho, including six Rhodes Scholars, three Marshall Scholars, and another ten Truman and Goldwater Scholars. The College is located on a beautiful campus in Caldwell, Idaho. Its distinctive PEAK curriculum challenges students to attain competencies in the four knowledge peaks of the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field, enabling them to graduate with an academic major and three minors in four years. For more information on The College of Idaho, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.