When I first decided to embark on the challenge of trying a different fitness class, craze or fad every week for a year, indoor climbing is exactly the kind of thing I had in mind. I’d never normally get around to going somewhere like this, but Clip’n’Climb sounded like fun, so off I trotted…
What They Say:
A climbing arena like no other in London!
An all-weather space where adults and kids can enjoy some healthy, action-packed fun! 20 individual and multi climber wall challenges of varying design and difficulty, testing agility and courage in different ways! We also have 3 special attractions – the infamous Vertical Drop Slide, Leap of Faith and Stairway to Heaven!
Clip’n’Climb is set amidst the lovely residential streets of Chelsea, currently bedecked with perfectly pink blossom trees, a joy to stroll down on a spring day. As I entered the building, the receptionist warmly welcomed me “you must be Holly!”… turns out I was the only person booked in for this midweek session.
I was told to wait in the cafe area upstairs until I was called, from where I had a great view of the double height room, literally wall to wall climbing walls. The space was full of kids who were eagerly clambering up – totally fearless – as their nannies watched on. I thought – well, if they can do it without freaking out, I sure as hell can!
When it was time to boot the kids out, I was given a harness and the safety drill. Basically: clip in before you climb. The clips had a key, so when the children were climbing they needed to wave to an instructor to be clipped in/unlocked. They obviously thought I looked like a sensible kinda gal, so gave me the key and told me to fill my boots.
All of the walls are the same height, but some are trickier than others. I started with one which was dotted with what looked like pieces of duplo and felt pretty easy – big old blocks to hang on to and put your feet on. Momentary sense of panic before I jumped off the top… “will this rope hold me?” but of course it did, and the nerves were gone straight after that! There is something so innately exhilarating about climbing high and looking down!
Next I headed to a cargo net. The one and only time I’ve been on one before was as part of a Spartan race last year where I’d broken my foot about 10 minutes earlier… I’d been quite literally carried through the cross country race by my teammates, but no-one was going to haul me over a cargo net so I had to do that bit on my own! I can’t say I was really focusing on the fun of the climb at the time so I took the opportunity to enjoy it this time!
I was like a kid in a sweet shop, running from one wall to the next! There was one which was lit up like a Christmas tree and then a freestanding ‘twister’ structure, which was harder as there were overhangs and you could only grip underhand. Each wall was different; most were pretty easy but you could challenge yourself by only using certain paths up (posters on the walls explained which were the easy/hard routes). A couple of the walls were really tricky and I only got a few metres up before my fingertip grip gave way. There were a couple of walls with big clocks on too, so you could time your ascent – fun if you’re a teensy bit competitive like me!
As my allocated hour neared its end, I felt like I’d got enough climbing done and was ready to let the next gang of kids have their turn!
Back in week 6 I went ice climbing (review here) and this was definitely easier than that! Anybody could give it a go and I’m going to take my niece down there as soon as she’s old enough! They run adult only evenings throughout the week and this would be a fun thing to come and do with friends.
Like a playroom for adults, this was a fun way to spend an hour! Some of the walls were really easy and others pretty challenging… whatever your level, you’ll get to the top and enjoy the sense of exhilaration as you jump down!
Where: Clip’n’Climb, Chelsea
Cost: £19.50 per session
How to book: www.clipnclimbchelsea.co.uk