Sunday, 3 February 2013

Driving me up the wall

In my youth I knew someone who was a keen rock climber and one weekend he let me join him and his friends for a little taster session.   I can't remember exactly where we went but it was either in the Peak District or the North Yorkshire Moors.  
Unfortunately I didn't get more that a few feet off the ground before I froze and couldn't move up or down!   They managed to get me down and I didn't try again.

In recent years I've started thinking I'd like to give it another go, just to see if I could get any further.
A few years ago some new kids' play equipment was installed on our local playing field.  One of the pieces was a like a wooden fort tower with various ways to get up to the platform, and a slide going off it.  One side was a climbing wall. 
I was cycling past one day and thought I would check it out.   There was nobody about so I had a go on the climbing wall.  I got up it, although it took me a while.   I probably should point out that it's only about the same height as me!  Still I was pretty chuffed about it, went down the slide and had a couple more goes.  :)
While I was there I had a few goes on the new zip wire as well (it would have been rude not to).

Upping the ante, on Friday I went to The Foundry Climbing Centre in Sheffield with my daughter and son.  We had one of the instructors with us, and with it being mid week there weren't many other people there.
Here's my daughter on the first wall
 You'll probably have to enlarge it to see properly, but there's lots of different coloured holds/grips (I'm not sure what they're called), but you have to try and just use one colour to get up.  On this one we were using the red ones.  It was scary when I got to the top and looked down, and when I had to let go of the grips and hold onto the rope to be lowered down, it was very unnerving because holding the swaying rope didn't feel as safe as holding onto the wall.

Here's me on the next wall where we were using the yellow grips.  I was in this position for quite a while trying to reach the next hold, but eventually reached the top
I didn't get any photos of my son in action because while one of us was climbing, another was attached to the other end of the rope, taking their weight, and the third feeding through the end of the rope, so to take a photo we had to ask the instructor to take over the end role. 

On this next wall the grips were really difficult to reach as you got higher and my arms got so tired I couldn't make it to the top.  In fact none of us got to the top on this one (so I don't feel too bad) but here's my daughter making her way up

We also had a go at bouldering, which is without a rope and harness but with a crash mat underneath. It's a lower wall that bulges out at the top like a boulder.

Afterwards my arms felt so shaky and weak there was no way I would have been able to drive the car straight away, so we sat in the cafe with a hot chocolate until I recovered!

I've realised that I haven't got a lot of strength in my arms so I'm starting to do press ups now.  Not that I might be going rock climbing again; I can tick that off my (imaginary) list, I just think I need to!


  1. Well Done ! I would be so useless at arms are weak and my grip is rubbish. I'm very impressed .
    Jacquie x

  2. It's great to face your fears, well done! :) x

  3. I'm in absolute awe - you can climb as well as sew - I think you've done brilliantly and that hot chocolate was well deserved

  4. Well done you! Not my cup of tea at all but how lovely to overcome your fears.
    Patricia x

  5. WOW, good for you to have a go at something you once feared. I went rock climb once at an indoor centre and about 6 feet up I had a panic attack. I came down pronto went outside for 10 minutes to recover and came back inside and went up as far as I could. Like you, my arm/shoulder strength is not good so I can understand why you had the shakes.
    Anne xx

  6. Umm...know way would you get me up there I'm dizzy if I have to stand on a stool!!
    Well done to you.

  7. I've always wanted to try that!

  8. I'm proud of you!!! I think thats fantastic, and my arms would have been agony I'm sure. It takes more skill than people think to do this, and I'm in awe of you now!!

    You go girl :D :D xxx

  9. Very brave of you - best to stick to the press ups I think!

    Pomona x