“Whose genius idea was it to come back to the UK in the middle of winter?” – I thought, as I watched the pellets of icy rain hitting the windscreen of our Transit van, waiting for the AA to come and fix it, or at least tow it off the road to safety.
My climbing evening was well and truly ruined and I felt like I was back at school being told off by a teacher for wearing the wrong coloured socks. And I was so excited about going back to train at my favourite climbing gym in London, The Reach…
So you have been thinking for a while about giving this climbing thing a go, and you’ve even talked your friend/colleague/significant other into trying it with you, but you just don’t know where to start and what to expect? Then this post is for you.
Going climbing for the first time can be quite daunting, especially if you decide to go on your own. Just like any other sport, being a beginner among experienced athletes takes a little bit of courage. But fear not – it isn’t hard to learn the basics, and if you go on a group induction you will not be the only beginner. Safety in numbers always helps!
“I’m used to endurance training, I used to do 28 routes on lead in one go,” she said, as I stared in disbelief. A heavily pregnant woman stood in front of me, having just climbed a 6b+ route (indoors) I had been quite proud of leading just a few weeks earlier, and given it the verdict of “really easy”.
This was something I encountered during a recent training session at The Castle Climbing Centre, a climbing wall in North London.
I was just admiring the fact she was climbing so strong despite being so far along, and then we started chatting. I mentioned I climb a lot at The Reach and she and her partner said they hadn’t been there. Then I mentioned the big overhang project wall there, and how sustained the climbing was on these routes. That’s how we got to the endurance conversation.
At the end of 2015 the Reach built this massive roof overhang lead wall, rightly named The Project.
It is 16 metres in length and the latter half of the route is a roof, which in my opinion is the toughest climbing style there is, as you are essentially climbing on the ceiling.
Here is my attempt at the easiest lead route on this wall, a 6a+. I’m literally missing one last hold!!
For a list of the best climbing walls in London, check out this post.