Try Something New... Climbing
Tuesday, 10 October 2017
Brookes Sport Ambassador, Brodie Holmes, decided to step out of her comfort zone and try something different... This time it was climbing!
As you might know from my previous blog on here, I’m an ambassador for Brookes Sport and my main focus here has always been on Olympic Lifting - but sometimes, it’s good to try something new, and when I say try something new what I really mean is “stepping out of your comfort zone” and do something you have never tried before! With the help of Brookes Sport, that’s exactly what I decided to do. I love trying new things and giving something a go. I don’t have much confidence, but I wasn’t going to let that (or the nasty hangover I had on the day… oops!) stop me.
So… climbing. It isn’t something everybody has access to but because the sports centre has a climbing facility I decided to give it a go. I didn’t know what to expect - I have been a rower, I have tried netball and even used to horse ride - but climbing is something that never crossed my mind. I felt nervous and anxious about what to expect, thinking I wouldn’t have the upper body strength to even get a metre high… well I did better than that! I exceed my own beliefs and expectations massively!
On the day I arrived, I picked up my climbing shoes and was given a harness to borrow from the instructor, Ali. He took me through the basics of what the numbers on the wall meant and how to put on the harness and abseil down once I’d reached the top. He then explained that to begin with I would be attached to the rope, and he would be at the other end! Uh oh… We all know trust takes ages to build and this was the first time I had met him but actually, I whizzed up the wall and then had to trust him to catch me and lower me down. We moved along the wall which got harder each time. On the first climb, I was allowed to use any colour blocks (the holds on the wall) to get me to the top, but after that I was only allowed to use a certain colour (or route) to get me there, it was hard!
Following this, he took me through to two other rooms, in I was attached to an “auto-belay” rather than Ali himself. An auto belay is the climbing term for what I like to call the ‘electric thing to help you come back down’ and let me tell you, it took me time to trust it! I started by climbing a metre up and Ali said, “right now just let go…”. I looked at him as if to say “what do you mean JUST?!”. It took me about 10 minutes alone to let go a metre from the floor before he then said to climb to the top 11m up! But I did it - I got over the fear and got on with it. The final wall in the outdoor extension I was attached back to Ali and the wall was harder than I had yet completed and involved using points round the corners of the wall. I loved it! My arms ached and I was getting sweatier and sweatier so I knew something was working. I’m not the sort of person to work up a sweat, it never happens… not even when I am lifting.
But for me the highlight of the session was bouldering. Although I was exhausted Ali told me to take the harness off and go to the bouldering wall with him. Yep, I was going to be climbing a wall without a harness. Now although it is nowhere near as high and has a crash matt below it, the fear and anxiousness was visible. Ali reassured me and showed me how it was done and how to help myself get to the top. I did it. I actually did it!
Now this is what I DIDN’T realise about climbing - it’s harder than it looks! The courage you need to foot-swap when up high and the grip and strength you need when driving up with you legs to move up and reach something that was too high up, it really does test your mental positivity and courage. Especially when you aren’t a fan of heights (and I reiterate… hungover!).
I would highly recommend giving it a go, I know I’ll be going back! I am looking forward to going bouldering again and may even buy my own harness if I go often enough! If this has interested you, I really do suggest going into the sports centre and asking about how you can get involved. You can book a session with Ali or one of the other instructors, or simply just go in and boulder! I loved every second of the climb, and although it was extremely challenging it really did push me out of my comfort zone!
Brodie was a Brookes Sport Brand Ambassador. You can find us on @BrookesSportOxford
Want to try climbing?
Why not give us a call at the Centre for Sport in Headington on 01865 484373, drop us an email here or pop in for a chat!