1.23 – Shall we go bouldering?

About 40 years ago, my dad was one of the best mountain climbers in South Africa, and perhaps in the world. Stories of freezing nights, frightening ascents, and broken ribs are forever being retold. And so today, with the weather behaving very Englishly, we headed to the local climbing wall to pitch old age and experience against youth and enthusiasm.

[In case you are unsure what bouldering is, imagine it as normal rock climbing, except you stay low to the ground and everything is very technically demanding. No ropes or anything, just a large mat underneath you.]

Neither of us had been bouldering in years. And I’m sure that to any on-looker, this was immediately apparent. First attempt had me tumbling to the ground within seconds. Second, third, and fourth attempts yielded similar results. Though after several more climbs and a short while longer, you do begin to see how it is all supposed to work. However by this time, your forearms are generally starting to fail.

There were a couple of easier sections where it was possible to actually get some distance in. So we spent a while playing around on these, slowly progressing to some of the harder stuff. I had a go at some of the nasty overhangs and a couple of leaps between holds, mostly just resulting in shredded fingers. But still amazing fun! You feel like a ninja-cross-monkey on the one time that you nail it.

After about 45 minutes, with a nice little sweat built up and decidedly less skin on my fingers than when we arrived, it was time to call it a day. If you’ve never had a go at climbing or bouldering before, I’d definitely recommend it if you get a chance. Cost us a tenner for as long as we wanted, so great value for money.

Hit me up if any of you have good climbing/mountaineering stories to share!


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