May 10, 2012

Review of two of the big rock climbing London centres

The Reach

Right, I'm going to introduce a few of the larger rock climbing centres in the city of London. First of all, let me talk about a climbing centre called The Reach - a place which most of my colleagues in London go to have a climb. One thing to say is that it is a little bit further away from the city itself in contrast to some other rock climbing walls such as Mile End and The Arch. It is located not far from Woolwich on an industrial estate, and could perhaps be fairly tricky to reach it by trains or buses. When you do make it there, however, it's worth it. My favourite thing concerning this particular climbing centre is the fact that it is rarely overcrowded. Hence, few queues or spending time waiting around in between routes. It is new: it only opened in 2010, but has without a doubt already convinced me as well as my climbing friends that it is the best place for climbing if you're visiting the capital.

With more than 150 leading and top roped lines including overhangs and slabs and lines for beginners and climbs that are graded high, The Reach is good for everyone. Also, the problems are reset on a regular basis. There is a section for bouldering as well. Said area for bouldering used to be on the small side a while ago, however The Reach have now unveiled their BRAND NEW section for bouldering - a couple of times the size that it was previously. The staff are pleasant and the atmosphere is good. Roughly speaking, the facilities are in good nick, you can also make use of a climbing store and a coffee shop too! Okay, I will now think about the cost. The Reach only £8 to get in those membership holders and £10 for non-members, therefore, for those of you who are serious rock climbers, I advise that you become a member. For NUS holders, discounts can be obtained if you climb at off-peak times and, similar to some other rock climbing venues, there is also a BMC discount.


Westway Sports Centre

I'll now consider Westway, the venueplace] where you'll find much more top rope and lead climbing than in some of the other climbing and bouldering London gyms. As it happens, there is over 120 roped and leading lines with heights of up to 14.5 metres - pretty decent! The climbing gym makes up one element of the bigger Westway Sports Centre which is situated in the north of Kensington, a short stroll from Ladbroke Grove station. Offering something for every kind of climber, there is ample to occupy lead climbers, top rope climbers and not forgetting boulderers. On the other hand, for those who are tired with climbing walls, you might want to try some of the other sports that Westway offer. There are football pitches, tennis courts, a swimming pool and a gym.

Although this climbing centre is really one of the largest London climbing walls, it can often get extremely busy. This usually happens at peak times and has a bad effect on the climbing vibe. For this reason, if I were to want a bouldering session only, I would go to The Arch bouldering centre nearby London bridge everytime - a more relaxed climbing atmosphere. However, Westway is really good if you are with a group of friends and also for those who are bringing the children for a climb. Normal costs are £10 a head, hence it is more value than The Arch climbing centre as an example, however remains fairly dear in my opinion.





May 08, 2012

Rock climbing London – Craggy island

Craggy island 2 situated in Sutton, London, is the little sister of Craggy Island climbing centre in Guildford. Craggy island 2 is not as big as Craggy island Guildford since it does not offer roped climbing - it is just a bouldering and caving centre situated in London. Rock climbing London workers will find it simple to get to the wall using either train, car or bus. It is a bit more far out from the city compared to some of the competing climbing and bouldering centres, but it is still worth a look, definitely if you prefer bouldering like me.

Craggy island 2 boasts over 500 square metres of brilliant bouldering surface with bouldering problems from V0 to V10. These bouldering walls are divided across three different little rooms, which are named easy, medium and hard. It has hence been designed with the idea to consider both seasoned climbers and new climbers who want either to learn the basics of rock climbing for the first time or to enjoy a different type of workout than the gym. The easy area is for kids.

Walls are hardly ever the same for any longer than two months, which ensures everything up to date but also ensuring long enough to complete that nemesis bouldering problem you have been working on. Craggy island also has a large caving system which consists of many passages and chambers and there is a sump - this makes Craggy Island is a great place to take the kids.

There is a great section of bouldering routes that are set on rock that is sculpted to mimic climbing on real grit and slate. The atmosphere at the climbing centre is average and can definitely be bettered at alternative rock climbing London venues. The problem might be because of the three different areas, and some climbers might be scared to boulder in the 'hard' area. However, it is still a great venue for a workout. Okay, what are the prices like? Pretty pricey it turns out - especially for climbers that are not members as it is £11 to get in - remember there's no roped climbing here. With membership, you get in at a much fairer price: £8.75 peak, £6.75 off-peak and a pound less for students.

Note that membership covers both the sutton centre and Craggy island (which includes roped climbing) which are approximately a forty minute drive from one another. Lots of boulderers make good use of both.



5 tips to improve rock climbing techniques

1. Climb varied rock.

Whether or not you are training at a indoor climbing centre or at a local crag, a method to lengthen your bouldering or climbing session and keep a good level is to often alter the type of climbing. Deviation in this way will not merely allow your climbing period to be longer and more enjoyable, but may also enhance your actual technique. If you concentrate on a variation of bouldering or rock climbing routes you will be concentrating on any climbing technique flaws you have. Because of this, you are going to become a far more complete boulderer or climber with better technique. For variation, you could alternate between slab walls and overhang walls, short and long problems, technical and pumpy climbs, the options are endless. The selection of different kinds of climbing holds is another thing to consider. For example, your fingers will not be tested at all when you are swinging off big juggy holds. To better your technique and performance make an effort to concentrate on bouldering or climbing walls, and also, climbing moves with crimps and slopers.

2. A good climbing partner

A very good rock climbing tip. Having a good rock climber who has great technique as a climbing partner has many advantages. By simply watching them on a wall, you will learn a great amount : watch the way they place their feet, watch when and where they have rests and try to copy their climbing technique. Also ask your buddy observe you climb and evaluate your technique. This is certainly a good thing to do as you might not know a few of your flaws, nor where you need to develop. Generally, I like to bring a climbing partner with more advanced climbing technique than me, it makes sure I become a better climber and increases my level of performance.

3. Strengthen your grip

Despite the fact that bettering your rock climbing techniques‎ is paramount to improving performance levels, you'll find that you should also have a strong grip. There is a range of methods to strengthen your grip and fingers. Two rock climbing gadgets I like to use are the power ball that concentrates on the wrist muscles and hence betters your strength of grip and the gripmaster that concentrates on the fingers.

4. Lose some weight

When we are climbing and bouldering, we are fighting against gravity. The more we weight, harder it becomes to ascend a climbing wall. It may sound completely obvious, but losing a bit of excess weight will make a significant difference to your climbing. Note, if you are already slim, it is a lot more advantageous to concentrate on enhancing your rock climbing techniques compared to shedding two or three pounds.

5. Warm up

It's going to take more time for your hands and feet to warm up compared to the legs and arms. Without warming up slowly, you risk your arms getting an unwelcome pump far too soon which no bouldering techniques will be able to reverse - the session is pretty much over. To prevent this, you should gently ease your muscles in by starting to climb relatively simple bouldering or climbing problems. As well as this, try to rest after each of the problems, and spend 30-45 minutes on warming up prior to you attempting harder problems. This can be frustrating, however, it is a method that really works!


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