Just over a week ago a fearless group of Global Personals employees ventured to the intimidating mountain peaks found at the Reading Climbing Centre for an introductory taster session of indoor climbing.
After we had all arrived and changed into our gym gear we proceeded to the practice wall to be introduced to our instructors for the evening. We were then kitted up, each of us stepping into and fastening up one of the most uncomfortable harnesses we will ever wear.
We were then shown the belaying technique we would use to scale the walls. Each of us, one by one were attached to a rope by two carabiners. The rope was then looped through a further two carabiners at the top of the wall, returning to the ground where it was secured to our instructor, who was using a belay device to lock off the rope and control the decent.
We then proceeded to scale the practice wall in pairs, one along side the other. With the holds all within easy reach and the wall not all that tall it actually felt quite easy, so what’s so difficult about this climbing lark? We were about to find out.
We then proceeded to one of the easier walls. Each wall featured three or four different sets of holds, colour coded by difficulty. We lined up in the shadow of a vast wall, almost twice as tall as the practice wall, with dozens of grips of different sizes and an outwardly angled top which made the last few metres all that more difficult.
In turn we scaled the wall. Each adopting a different style with a different route and a different volume (some of us screamed!). With most of the group having reached the top and looking for another challenge we moved onto the next wall.
After trying a couple of different walls a few of the team noticed a strange crack down one of the walls. A vertical gap with a few rough edges that spanned from floor to ceiling. This was apparently a very tricky advanced route up the wall, with just enough space to squeeze a hand and an awkwardly placed foot. A fearless few gave it a go, with Jean-Sebastien our resident Spider Man making the most progress.
Next up was bouldering. Short climbs over a padded floor, this sounds a bit easier. How wrong was I. We wandered over to the bouldering area, an area which looked like a giant play ground for adults, with walls jutting out at strange angles and the floor covered in 2 feet of foam. Here, upper body strength was key with many of the walls testing even the fittest members of the group.
Overall a great time was had by all, with most of the group eager to plan the next visit. A big thank you goes to Tim Blair, who organised the evening and to the Reading Climbing Centre and their team for an excellent evening.
To view more pictures visit the Flickr set.