Last week we were invited down to the Westway Sports Centre to have a go at rock climbing. It seems that rock climbing is the new bootcamp; everyone is doing it! It’s been on my ‘must try’ list for a while, so I was thrilled that Tom and I could spend a date night having a lesson.
Although it was a little bit of a faff signing in, we were soon being shown how to do up our safety harnesses and clip in to the ropes on the wall. Tip- don’t wear short shorts if you’re ever rock climbing, I can imagine it might not work too well with the harness!
We were learning how to belay each other, thats when the person on the ground is attached to the person climbing to secure them, and ensure that they wouldn’t fall if they lost their grip/footing. We were taught the importance of feeding the rope through your hands but never letting go, and to ensure that the rope is tight but with enough slack for the climber to move. Because Tom is heavier than me I sometimes was lifted off the ground a little when he was abseiling down; fun but a little scary.
We started on the shortest walls and made our way up, completing four walls in total. The grips on the walls are various colours, with different ability levels depending on the colour. Just following a single colour up a wall makes it much harder, and forces you to plan your route more carefully!
I was glad to go first on each wall so that I didn’t lose my nerve; my palms were definitely a little sweaty throughout our session! Although you know you’re safe, it is quite scary scaling walls of up to 14 metres (although typing that makes it seem much lower than they actually felt at the top!).
We each made it to the top of all four walls, and I could certainly feel that I’d used muscles all over my body to lift myself between the holds. Our instructor told us that we should lean in to the wall, and use our legs to do the work rather than clinging on with our arms. Turns out that is easier said than done, and my arms and fingers were aching at the end of our hour session.
We had a lot of fun, and felt like we had achieved something to be proud of with each wall we successfully scaled. It was such an adrenaline rush, both making it to the top, and letting go, trusting the other person to get you safely and smoothly back to the ground! I was so impressed with Tom, who is a little scared of heights, for having a go and for making it look so easy.
You can find out more about climbing at the Westway Sports Centre in West London here. Our session was complimentary but we will definitely be back for another go.