When my friend first told me about bouldering I thought, “Rock climbing, but without a harness?! You’re having a giggle!” She begged me to go to a class with her, but I never did. It just didn’t sound like something I’d enjoy. “I’ll stick to yoga” I said.
A couple of years passed and another friend decided to go bouldering for her birthday party. How could I miss it?
So there I was, standing in the bouldering hall at Vauxwall, having signed my life away (literally, the form says you accept that there’s a chance you may die). I had no clue where to start.
The green holds are the easy ones, so I began with those. I managed to scramble halfway up the wall before giving up and carefully making my way down. I have to say, it seems a lot higher up than it is!
I scouted the room for more easy green routes, only to find that my friends had already made it to the top of the wall and were casually scaling the room. Well if they can do it…
Filled with confidence (and a bit of pressure) and I somehow managed to climb to the top of one of the walls. I got such a rush doing it. Now I get why people do this.
Looking for a new challenge, we went into another room to find sloping walls galore and people hanging upside down like monkeys. I was entranced by their mad skills. It was like gravity just didn’t matter to them.
We tried a few of the tricky climbs, but failed. I did however manage to do a seated climb where you sit on the floor and pull your way up to the holds. YES arm muscles.
All in all, I was glad to have finally tried it. And I actually went back again! Along with aerial yoga, that’s two new hobbies I have now. Sweet.
Advice I wish I’d been given
- Use liquid chalk: It dries out your hands to give you more grip, as well as making your hands rough to avoid ripping the skin. I didn’t use any, so I got blisters.
- Think ahead: Don’t just start climbing willy nilly. Look out for other people who might be traversing towards your zone and wait for them to go first.
- Don’t beat yourself up: Mentally and physically. If you can’t get to the top first time, not to worry. And don’t try anything too risky if you’re new. There’s no shame in attempting a route and coming back down. Better than falling on your face.
Yoga Panther x