We have eight girls in the rock climbing club this term, which is being run at the K2 climbing centre in Crawley. It is a fantastic space to learn the ropes (quite literally) and the GB climbing team also enjoy using the various walls here.
Our first couple of sessions have been spent getting the girls familiarised with the importance of safety, both for themselves and their climbing partners, as they take full responsibility for tying their own ropes and belaying their climbing partners when they are on the walls.
The girls have all experienced the elation of climbing up some of the 40-55 foot walls. Several of the routes have an automatic belay system, so once you reach the top the climber just leans back and then free falls gently back to the ground. It still takes confidence in the equipment (or your partner) to just let go when you are 18 metres off the ground.
There are also a couple of ‘speed climbing walls’ where the girls can compete against each other and time themselves going up. You definitely need courage, strength, determination and a good head for heights for this one… but the smiles on their faces afterwards tell the real story.
Mr Nick Rae