When I started considering a new career in the outdoor industry over 2 ½ years ago I decided to have a crack at indoor climbing. I had never really considered indoor climbing, I have never really been that keen on heights and the only experience I had ever had of climbing was outside and horrific. But hey when have these sorts of things stopped me? So, my other half and I went along to the local climbing wall one evening with friends and had a go…
Did I enjoy it? No….er yes….er…. Honestly I’m not sure if I did, but I guess I thought I should. If I was going to be a roughtie toughtie outdoor instructor surely I should ‘just love’ climbing? So I persevered and soon I had progressed from climbing half way up a 3+ wall, panicking and coming down to being able to comfortably climb a 5+ route and even lead it. It took time though, a lot of time and a great deal of patience on behalf of my husband, my then boss Joe and my new climbing buddy Meg.
So, I decided to do my Climbing Wall Award Training. A fantastic 2 day course where you are introduced to the skills needed to be a competent, inspiring and enthusiastic indoor climbing wall instructor. That weekend now seems like years ago – oh yes, it WAS years ago! I remember being overwhelmed but ultimately supported my Tony Penning the climbing legend who was teaching me and the course was great fun. When it came to an end I was full of beans and gung ho on getting my lead climbs logged, my observations nailed and my supported sessions completed. I was really starting to like this climbing lark.
But then life got in the way, as it does. I needed to a) make some money and b) look after my kids so the climbing began to fall by the wayside. Those of you who don’t have a family really have no idea how challenging that makes things. Especially when they are of an age where they either don’t want to come with you any more or point blank refuse to leave their beds. It doesn’t help either that they aren’t quite old enough yet to left alone. So, the climbing wall visits began to wane.
Then, enter Mountain Leader Training. Boom. I had a new toy to play with – mountains! I was in love, BIG TIME in love and this was the death nell really for indoor climbing for me. Suddenly all I wanted to do was climb mountains, not walls covered with bright, gaudy coloured holds with weird names. I have always sniggered at the young men at the walls who get ever so excited by the ‘amazing jugs’ on the 6a climb…
So, my ML took over and I stopped climbing. I had also fallen in love with ropes and outdoor climbing and had decided to crack on and get my Single Pitch Award (which is now the Rock Climbing Instructor Award). That was until I got my new job at Malvern Outdoor Elements. This requires me to have my CWA. Oh. Dear. Me.
When I was offered the job they told me that I needed to complete my assessment by June, I smiled sweetly and said ‘yeah sure, no problem’. It was December after all so June was literally months away…..
It is now the middle of March and I have been indoor climbing a grand total of 2 times since December. Oops. My assessment was booked for March 30th but being Good Friday I asked for it to be postponed. It has been, a whole 2 weeks to April 16th. I am bricking it!
So, I am now in the midst of blind panic and fear. When I go for an assessment of any kind I am not one of those people who can just ‘wing it’. I want to be confident that I know my stuff and can enjoy the process. Ummm, in this case I am not so sure. Especially after coming home from my last climbing session at the brilliant new Green Spider Climbing in Hereford with the stark realisation that I don’t like indoor climbing. I know, terrible isn’t it!? So, for the next 4 weeks I have to take a deep breath and do that classically British thing and just grin and bear it. I am hoping along the way I shall fall back in love with this amazing sport which offers not only an amazing level of fitness but access to one of the kindest communities I know. I’ll let you know how it goes!
Please though, whatever you do, don’t let me put you off! Indoor Climbing is an amazing sport, so amazing that it has now been made part of the Olympics. So, if you fancy having a go (go on, you can’t say you don’t like something until you try it!) then go to the British Mountaineering Council website here where you can find your local Climbing Wall. Sign yourself up for a taster session and who knows you may just become hooked!
A great blog to read about getting in to indoor climbing can be found on the Average Joe Adventures website here: Get Climbing: Starting Out