For those that end up reading this blog and do not know my whole back story, here it is in a nutshell* : Whilst at Uni in Carlisle I used to go down to the Sands Centre climbing wall, wearing skate shoes, I sucked at it, I gave up. That is my climbing history.
This year after my collarbone breaking incident, my fitness was at an all time low, so I decided to give climbing another chance, and someone kindly donated me their old shoes and harness. Thanks very much to the guy responsible. I loved it, the shoes made a massive difference and I really took to it, like a penguin to ice climbing. So now I climb at the Sands Centre in Carlisle every Tuesday with some other Jackrabbitt people.
So anyway, I was back in Yorkshire for a week and had heard about a new climbing wall in Harrogate. Decided to take my wife and brother along and have a bash. First and foremost, the place is very clean and very well run, possibly because it is new but then again, it seems as though the people there have a passion for it so it should do well. We paid £8.50 each to get in, and we were only there for a few hours so it seemed a bit pricey, but if you were there for an afternoon or full day, you could definitely get your monies worth.
The main hall is very modern with a fantastic range of colours and an interesting layout making the most of the space available to them. The tallest walls are around 11 metres, although I think they are possibly slightly higher or the rope we were using wasn’t quite 25 metres as you can see in the photo! There was a good variation of routes, from extremely simple 4’s with top ropes all the way to 7c+ and possibly higher which I didn’t see. You did not need quick draws on the routes without top ropes.
The main overhang wasn’t as severe as some that I have seen (as seen in the right of this photo), but it was still enough to be challenging (I didn’t try it, this time). I felt the grades were graded correctly and this is something which I am sure many people will find as they go from centre to centre, a 5+ is sometimes a 6a+ at another centre.
The bouldering room was really nice and had some fantastic challenges in it, with some great opportunities to dyno, which is my current favourite bit of climbing…however I don’t like the lack of skin left on my fingers.
All in all, I would highly recommend people to go spend the afternoon at Harrogate Climbing Centre if they get the chance. They hire out kit which is essential for a climbing venue in my personal opinion, how can we expand the sport if we can’t provide the right equipment.