Rock Climbing at Redpoint
Ok. So I have been trying new things which is all very exciting and I have broadened my experiences a lot but they haven't all been outside of my comfort zone. Rock climbing however, this was a big one for me as not only was it something I had been wanting to do for a long time but it was out of my comfort zone. I had no idea how I was going to feel climbing as the thought made me a bit nervous plus does not help that I am clumsy with no arm strength. Still I was excited to go!
We went to RedPoint indoor climbing centre and were met by our instructor Jordan for the evening. We were given a climbing harness and shoes although I had made sure I put on my trusty sketchers. The shoes given to me were a bit tight, though my normal size, but I weighed up that I would rather have them tight than go for a size bigger and they be loose. I wonder if most people would have this dilemma.
The harness consisted of a waist belt, leg loops and a belay loop. The belay is a rope device that attaches and secures you to your climbing partner who locks the rope in place and prevents the climber from basically falling. So choose your belay partner wisely!
Jordan then briefed us and took us upstairs to a practise area which we had all to ourselves. I was the most nervous so decided I would offer to go first to get my turn out the way so I could watch my husband and SIL do their turns in peace. Big mistake. I literally had no idea what I was doing and how flexible I should be. I climbed for what seemed like ages before I asked to be let down. That in itself was a challenge. To my horror, to get down you have to basically lean back (putting trust in your belay partner) and almost walk down. Although I don't know why I was shocked that this was the most suitable method to get down. Once on ground, I realised I had barely made it up the wall. In fact, I hadn't even got a quarter of the way. I was a tough act to beat - not.
Next was my husband's turn. Needless to say, he literally climbed that wall like a monkey. He climbed that wall like he had been doing this since fresh out the womb. No one would have thought it was his first time too. Is there anything this man can't do? Even the instructor was really impressed and commented he was a natural. My husband did begin to explain he had spent a lot of time climbing trees when younger and also had to get out some tough situations which sounded a lot more incriminating then he meant it to.
But watching my husband showed me why I should not have gone first. He was brave with his movement, stretching his arms and legs and making moves I did not think to. I noted his technique.
Third to go was my sister in law who was as frightened as me. Or so I thought. Once she got on that wall she proved she was really her brother's sister. She made it up super high with little to no guidance. I was impressed. My husband had given me the technique and she had given me the inspiration. If she could do it despite her nerves, I should be able to do it as her older SIL.
I was ready to go back up (plus it was my turn). This time guys, I made it half way. At this point, I felt my hands needed to rest. I knew I had peaked this turn when I made it further than I did before. I was ready to come down.
Fast forward... My husband tried a harder wall and worked it like it was no bother. My SIL also amped up a wall and this time she reached the top. I felt like a proud mother. A proud sister just doesn't cut it. Then it was my turn to go again.
And to my astonishment, this time... I made it to the top! It was a struggle. I honestly just took my time and though I felt like giving up, I pushed myself and reached for the rocks that I felt were not possible but actually very much were. I zoned out a lot, though I looked towards my husband and instructor for advice, which they gave me but it was going through one ear and out the other. My husband even said at one point the instructor asked him to come and talk to me as I just wasn't listening to the tips. To be honest, I consciously wasn't listening, I just having my mini breaks and going at my pace. However, my husband resorted to tapping on the rocks he was guiding me towards and this visual aspect helped. As I realised I could do it, my confidence increased and I was at the top in no time. I was on cloud nine... then I realised I had to lean back from this high up. Crashing down to reality. Luckily I did not literally crash. The descent was absolutely fine, even if it did lack class.
From this moment, I was on a natural high. I may not have gone up the harder walls like my husband and SIL but I reached my personal peak in even completing that first wall which I failed at to begin with. I had gone out my comfort zone! Hurray.
We were taken downstairs to spend our last ten minutes on the public rock climbing area where there were lots of styles and variations to try. Everyone around me looked like a pro! We were also shown the bouldering area which are smaller walls which a soft landing all around which you can practise on and perfect your technique without the need for a harness or belayer. I decided I would be back to play around here.
Overall I had such a fun time. Normally I run a mile from things that make me nervous or at least I think twice before doing them again but on this occasion I cannot wait to go rock climbing (or bouldering for now) again. We all completed membership forms so we can come back as and when we please. My husband will also be taking classes that Redpoint offer to help you learn the ropes (literally also). My instructor was pivotal in my progress with his encouragement, patience, support and guidance. In fact, all the staff at Redpoint are super friendly and make the experience all that much better.
It is safe to say, I for sure left a five star review. And would encourage everyone to give it a try. If I can do it, you can do it!