Climbing With Concord College at Shrewsbury Climbing Wall

Today was the forth and last activity session that I will be doing with Concord College this term. We have a number of other sessions booked for 2012, but we’ll wait for the weather and daylight to improve so that we can make the most of it.

Taking a much needed rest
Taking a much needed rest

This afternoon, we headed for the indoor climbing wall at Shrewsbury Sports Village which is nice and local to the school, and usually pretty quiet during the day. Due to the numbers in the group, I’d asked Adam to join us as an additional instructor for the session, so we had 6 pupils in each group which worked nicely.

After a few basic pointers about safety and a bit of a warm up, we ventured onto the bouldering wall. Bouldering tends to look relatively easy, and indeed it can be, but the lack of ropes often leads people to think that it must be easier than it really is. However, it wasn’t long before the group started to realise that it can be useful to do a bit of planning before even touching the wall. Some challenges were achieved, while others will remain on the ‘to do’ list for another day.

Rising to the challenge
Rising to the challenge

We then moved onto the main climbing wall, with the groups working in teams of 3. Having done some climbing with me a few weeks ago, it didn’t seem to take them too long to remember how to tie knots and belay properly, which made life a little easier for me, and meant that we could have a go at quite a number of climbs during the session. A couple of hours’ taster type session is not the place to explore different techniques in any detail, but it was interesting to so a few of the group starting to experiment with ideas. Perhaps we’ve found a couple of natural climbers!

Climbing on indoor walls tends to be very physically demanding. The walls are usually vertical, or overhanging, which makes it much more strenuous than most outdoor climbing venues. As a result, 2 hours is normally about most people’s limit before their fingers and forearms start to cry out for a rest. Today was no exception, and everyone started to run out of steam at about the 2 hour mark. According to the staff that brought them from the school, several had nearly fallen asleep on the short drive to the climbing wall, so I’m sure they’ll sleep soundly tonight!

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