At 3pm on Saturday 20th October 2018, five of us gathered at Hardrock Climbing in the city for an afternoon of scaling walls. After hiring gear and going through the safety training, we started on the smaller wall before working up to longer and taller walls. The ropes were marked with difficulty ratings from single to double digits, and multicoloured rocks signaled different path options.
P shared with us various climbing tips. Number one tip is legs first! Then arms. Also it’s better to keep your arms straight and your upper body away from the wall, so your body weight hangs from your shoulder muscles, rather than clinging close to the wall with bent arms. Other techniques were turning the body to the side or crossing an arm over the body to reach a faraway rock, looking down to find the next foothold, balance your weight, and swinging to get momentum to reach the next rock.
When we started, it was very busy at the climbing centre, with most walls occupied with kids, families, and other groups. We would need to wait for the more popular paths, or quickly grab the climbing rope when it was free before someone else came along. But as the afternoon went on, the crowds dissipated and we had whole walls to choose from. We could take our time and it was quite a relaxing atmosphere, to be able to focus on tackling the next climb. Some parts were quite challenging, getting stuck with nothing else to step on or hold on to. It would feel like there were rocks missing from the path.
We alternated between climbing up walls and resting sore arms and doing the belaying (person at the bottom holding the safety rope). Despite the tips to use your legs! our arms grew sore as we became more tired, and eventually around half past six we decided it was time to go for dinner.
P took us to a Laos restaurant on Elizabeth St, hidden away on the second floor through a series of stairwells. We had an assortment of noodle soup dishes and coloured drinks such as pink milk tea and a red sweet drink with palm seeds(?). For desert we had red sticky rice with coconut rice topping. L joined us for dinner, and we heard stories about P and L’s trip to Laos, experiencing the local textiles, doing basket weaving, embroidery, and the many types of natural dye used in Laos.
It was a tiring but fun afternoon, with enjoyable dinner afterwards. Thank you to P for organising! (P is also looking for people to do more rock climbing with on Thursday nights if you are keen.)