you're on the wall all you're thinking about is the next move. Your
mother could have died, the old man could have left you but when
you're on that wall making that move there's nothing going around
inside your head ... nothing."
And he wasn't kidding.
Clinging on to a wall, eight metres up, with toes jammed into impossibly
small crevices trying to work out where to move next is a guaranteed
way to clear the mind.
what's the appeal? Why is Rock climbing becoming one of the fastest
growing sports in the country?
for a start it has all the ingredients of a seriously sexy sport.
Think Spiderman, James Bond and Tom Cruz in Mission Impossible ...
it's a little bit dangerous, a little bit reckless and a little
fact it has all the makings of the thinking man's extreme sport.
But anybody can do it from 8-60. All you need is a certain level
of fitness, dexterity and intelligence.
the Link Centre in Swindon, the Ridge Climbing Wall offers the biggest
and most challenging climbing wall in the county.
metres long and nine metres high it stretches along the entire length
of the sports hall.
and moulded, the concrete rock face mimics natural rock with crevices,
ledges and ominous looking overhangs.
coded foot and hand holds stud the walls marking out set climbing
And they can vary from the very easiest F4 level to a hanging on
by your fingernails F7b.
But with complete novices being able to tackle an F6a route at the
end of a six week course everyone can take advantage of the 120
set routes on offer.
technique and what's in your head that makes the difference,"
says instructor Pete Cook.
"There's no rules in the game of making the move your body
shape awareness is what you're looking for."
more than aware of my body shape I wasn't too confident of my chances
in the first challenge 'bouldering'.
you don't like being any higher off the ground than the top of your
aerobic step than bouldering is for you.
a low, ten metre long sandstone looking wall with a big crash mat
to flop into.
9m high concrete wall
scale across the wall sideways like a Spiderman double, believe
me, a lot harder than Pete made it look.
Hand and foot suckers may have helped.
was the ominous looking nine metre high concrete wall.
With this wall you need a rope and harness - a crash mat is just
not an option.
is where the trust comes in.
To climb you need a partner or belayer to stand below you with your
rope attached to their harness to anchor you and stop you falling.
the wall with the prospect of not being let down until I had placed
both hands on the top ledge I started to climb.
At eight metres with a mind as clear as a summers day hearing "Move
your left foot, no your other left foot" was surely forgivable.
But by the time I'd made it to the top ledge and placed two hands
triumphantly on the top I was hooked.
Not only is it a fantastic physical and mental workout but you'll
get so involved you'll forget that it's exercise.