Meet the Grads, Cam Kellar: Climbing to new heights
For Cam Kellar, a civil and environmental engineering student from Morgantown, deciding to go to West Virginia University was a no brainer.
Story by Brittany Furbee, Communications Specialist
Submitted Photos by Tanner Henson, Cam Kellar and Tonya Kellar
“Growing up in Morgantown, WVU sports were paramount to my family and me,” said Kellar. “We never missed a game, and that passion for WVU made my decision where to attend college rather easy. I chose civil and environmental engineering at the Statler College because I love problem solving and building things.”
Staying close to home was important to Kellar, but he was also drawn to WVU because of its’ Climbing Club.
“I started climbing in high school, but because I was involved in typical sports such as football, basketball and baseball, I didn't start truly pursuing climbing until freshman year at WVU,” said Kellar. “I was aware of the outstanding climbing club at the University and was very excited to join the club on trips to the New River Gorge, Red River Gorge and other famous climbing destinations on the east coast.”
The WVU Climbing Club is open to first-time and advanced climbers interested in taking weekend climbing trips throughout the region. The club also hosts socials, gym days and climbing workshops throughout the year to help teach newcomers the basics of the sport.
During his freshman year, the University sanctioned the WVU Competitive Climbing Team, its first competitive climbing team that would compete in the collegiate division of USA Climbing.
“Since climbing became an official sport in the Olympics, universities across the country started hosting climbing teams to compete at USA collegiate climbing competitions,” said Kellar. “I was lucky enough to be here when the WVU Competitive Climbing Team was formed and have been competing and representing the University ever since.
As a member of the team, Kellar must participate in team workouts that occur three times a week to improve members climbing ability, finger strength and technique.
Kellar was able to travel with the team and compete in climbing gyms across the east coast, including competitions in Morgantown, Pittsburgh, Philidelphia, Washington D.C., San Francisco and New York City.
He currently serves as co-captain of the WVU Competitive Climbing Team and as a senior member of the WVU Climbing Club.
“As co-captain, I plan team workouts, organize practices and coordinate climbing gyms across the country for competitions,” said Kellar. “As for the climbing club, I am one of the more experienced members, so on many club trips I spend time mentoring and teaching newer climbers.”
This past academic year was Kellar's most successful year with the WVU Competitive Climbing Team, as he was able to secure a podium spot four times at competitions, one of which was a first-place finish. A contributor to his success was being disciplined, a skill he learned as an engineering student at the Statler College.
“I had to sacrifice a lot of normal college kid things so I could focus on studying and training,” said Kellar. “A large part of climbing is problem solving, especially in competitions. Studying engineering has definitely helped me improve my problem solving and critical thinking skills. This has easily translated into my climbing performance.”
Kellar recalled a time when he was at a climbing competition but was working against a tight project deadline for one of his engineering classes.
“I was walking around the competition with a pencil, paper and calculator, while also texting my friend to compare results,” said Kellar. “I definitely got a few weird looks, but I ended up getting first in the competition and a 96% on the project, so I guess it went ok.”
In addition to finding success in climbing, Kellar made the WVU Dean’s list four times, a testament to his hard work and dedication, and was also an active member of the WVU American Society of Civil Engineers.
Although climbing and engineering kept him busy throughout college, Kellar knew he wanted to share his climbing experiences online and began dabbling in filming and editing content for social media.
“In the summer of 2021, I started posting my climbing videos and adventures on TikTok and Instagram, as well as longer videos on YouTube,” Kellar explained. “In the beginning, my editing skills were terrible, and my climbing skills were even worse. But since then, I have become much a stronger climber and my editing has come just as far.”
Kellar has seen recent growth and success with his climbing content, as his subscribers have grown over 250% in the last six months, and he has had videos reach over 50,000 views on some platforms. He’s also recently had well-known climbers and brands, such as The North Face, interacting on his posts through likes and comments. His content has also been reposted and shared by the sunglasses brand, Shady Ray’s.
“The past six to eight months, my friends and I have been more focused than ever on making the highest quality content we possibly can, and I am happy to see this has been paying off,” said Kellar.
Kellar will soon relocate to Las Vegas, where he will begin working as a civil engineering analyst at Kimley-Horn. As a member of their hydrology department, he will be working on stormwater projects that will ensure a safer and more sustainable future for Las Vegas.
“Las Vegas is an ideal location to push my career as an engineer as well as a climber,” said Kellar. “I believe the skills I have accumulated as a student, a climber, and entrepreneur have helped make me confident in knowing I can do anything I set my mind to. I feel confident stepping into my engineering career knowing this, and I am eager to prove it.”
Contact: Paige Nesbit
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
304.293.4135, Paige Nesbit
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